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Robert B. Parker's Slow Burn
Cover of Robert B. Parker's Slow Burn
Robert B. Parker's Slow Burn
Spenser Series, Book 45
Boston PI Spenser faces a hot case and a personal crisis in this adventure in Ace Atkins' iconic New York Times bestselling series.

The fire at a boarded-up Catholic church raged hot and fast, lighting up Boston's South End and killing three firefighters who were trapped in the inferno. A year later, as the city prepares to honor their sacrifice, there are still no answers about how the deadly fire started. Most at the department believe it was just a simple accident: faulty wiring in a century-old building. But Boston firefighter Jack McGee, who lost his best friend in the blaze, suspects arson.
McGee is convinced department investigators aren't sufficiently connected to the city's lowlifes to get a handle on who's behind the blaze—so he takes the case to Spenser. Spenser quickly learns not only that McGee might be right, but that the fire might be linked to a rash of new arsons, spreading through the city, burning faster and hotter every night. Spenser follows the trail of fires to Boston's underworld, bringing him, his trusted ally Hawk, and his apprentice Sixkill toe-to-toe with a dangerous new enemy who wants Spenser dead, and doesn't play by the city's old rules. Spenser has to find the firebug before he kills again—and stay alive himself.
Boston PI Spenser faces a hot case and a personal crisis in this adventure in Ace Atkins' iconic New York Times bestselling series.

The fire at a boarded-up Catholic church raged hot and fast, lighting up Boston's South End and killing three firefighters who were trapped in the inferno. A year later, as the city prepares to honor their sacrifice, there are still no answers about how the deadly fire started. Most at the department believe it was just a simple accident: faulty wiring in a century-old building. But Boston firefighter Jack McGee, who lost his best friend in the blaze, suspects arson.
McGee is convinced department investigators aren't sufficiently connected to the city's lowlifes to get a handle on who's behind the blaze—so he takes the case to Spenser. Spenser quickly learns not only that McGee might be right, but that the fire might be linked to a rash of new arsons, spreading through the city, burning faster and hotter every night. Spenser follows the trail of fires to Boston's underworld, bringing him, his trusted ally Hawk, and his apprentice Sixkill toe-to-toe with a dangerous new enemy who wants Spenser dead, and doesn't play by the city's old rules. Spenser has to find the firebug before he kills again—and stay alive himself.
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  • From the book 1
    The Harbor Health Club had returned to its roots.
    Not only was boxing allowed, it was now encouraged by Henry Cimoli. For a waterfront gym that had weathered both urban renewal and Zumba, the time had come. Henry and I took a break from the boxing ring and watched a dozen or so young professionals, men and women, listen to a Cree Indian from Montana teach them how to deliver a left jab.
    Henry had a welded cage built in the expanse of what had been the workout room, heavy bags swinging from the platform. Half the gym was now boxing, the other half free weights and Crossfit gear. Hawk and I were quite pleased. Not to mention Z, whom Henry had employed for the last two years and had ushered in the new era.
    "You didn't have to do all of this for us."
    "I did it for Mr. Green," he said, rubbing his thumb and two fingers together. "What makes the world go 'round."
    "What if aerobics come back in style?'
    "I'll bring in fucking monkeys on unicycles if it'll keep this gym open," he said. "If you hadn't noticed, this building isn't on Skid Row anymore."
    "I could tell by the yachts moored outside," I said. "I pick up on subtle clues like that."
    We leaned against the ropes, like cowboys on a split rail fence, watching Z help a fit young woman in a pink sports bra throw a left hook.
    "To be young," Henry said.
    "The moments passed as at a play," I said.
    "And I have the ex-wives to prove it," Henry said, letting himself out of the ropes and down the short steps. He walked over to help Z instruct the lithe young woman. I admired his commitment.
    I spent a half hour on a treadmill, showered, and changed into my street clothes: Levi's, black pocket T-shirt, and a pair of tan suede desert boots. As I was headed to the street, a rotund man in a gray sweatshirt whistled for me. He'd been running the dumbbell rack with biceps curls, his fat face flushed and sweaty.
    Jack McGee wiped a towel over his neck and said, "Christ, Spenser. I been waiting for you all freakin' morning."
    "Nice to be needed."
    I shook his wet hand. Jack sweated a lot. He was a short, thick guy with Irish written all over his face. I'd known him for many years, and in the many I'd known him he'd been a Boston firefighter. Being a firefighter was more than a job for Jack, it was a calling.
    "I got a problem," he said. Whispering, although most of Henry's clients were in the boxing room.
    "Superset your bis and tris," I said. "Work the dumbbells with press downs."
    "Are you busy with anything right now?"
    I shrugged. "I just finished an insurance fraud case," I said. "But I'm always on standby for the big S projected into the clouds over Boston."
    "Well, I got a big fucking S for you," he said. "As in the shit has hit the fan."
    "I'm familiar with that S."
    "There's this thing."
    "There's always a thing," I said.
    "Can we talk outside?"
    McGee followed me out to my newish blue Explorer. I tossed my gym bag into the back and leaned against door with my arms folded over my chest. I had worked out hard and my biceps bulged from my T-shirt. I feared if I stood there any longer, I might be accosted by passing women.
    "You know about the fire last year?" McGee said.
    Everyone knew about the fire last year. Three firefighters had died at an old church in the South End. The funeral Mass had been televised on local...
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    March 7, 2016
    Edgar-finalist Atkins’s solid fifth Spenser novel (after 2015’s Robert B. Parker’s Kickback) finds the Boston PI looking into a year-old blaze at a Catholic church in the South End that claimed the lives of three firefighters. While Spenser’s fire department friend, Capt. Jack McGee, suspects arson, neither the police nor McGee’s investigators have been able to make a case. McGee needs Spenser to keep a low profile, fearful that his pension may be imperiled if word of his unofficial digging reaches the brass. Meanwhile, some firefighter wannabes, who believe that the fire department isn’t getting the respect or resources it deserves, decide that the way to change things is to begin starting fires. Though the story is mostly formulaic—Spenser spars with thugs, crosses a high-level mobster, shares good food, banter, and a bed with his long-time love interest—Atkins tosses in a surprising change to his lead’s status quo, and series fans will be eager to see what he does with it in Spenser’s next outing. Agent: Helen Brann, Helen Brann Agency.

  • Kirkus

    March 1, 2016
    Spenser fiddles while Boston burns. It began a year ago with a fire in Holy Innocents, a South End church that burned to the ground with three firefighters trapped in the basement. Despite all the fires that have followed, Capt. Jack McGee, a close friend of Lt. Pat Dougherty, has been stonewalled at every turn by the authorities, who insist they can't even be sure fires were set at two different places, as Dougherty claimed just before becoming one of those victims, and he wants Spenser to ask the tough questions, without of course mentioning McGee's name. Never reluctant to take on the world's troubles, Spenser makes the rounds, and in no time at all he's succeeded in antagonizing members of the police department, the arson squad, and the Sparks Association, whose members devote themselves to providing aid and comfort to Boston's firefighters. More consequentially, the questions he asks Tommy "Tommy Torch" Torccelli, the veteran arsonist doing time for kiddie porn, also bring him up against Jackie DeMarco, a crime lord who's never been a fan of Spenser's. None of which would be a big problem if DeMarco and Tyler King, his designated arsonist, were actually behind the blazes. But they're not; as Atkins (Robert B. Parker's Kickback, 2015, etc.) makes clear from the get-go, the real arsonists are a trio of wannabe firefighters who think they can rally public support and funding for the Boston Fire Department by showing everyone how thinly its resources are stretched. If you think this motive sounds implausible, just consider how much it would explain about the current activities of Congress. Not much energy or conviction in the larger rhythms of this case, but the scene-by-scene, line-by-line pleasures are authentic enough.

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    December 1, 2015
    Boston PI Spenser is approached by firefighter Jack McGee, who's convinced that the apartment blaze that took the lives of five residents and two firefighters was arson. Edgar-nominated Atkins's takeover of the late Parker's iconic Spenser character has produced a string of "New York Times" best sellers.

    Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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Spenser Series, Book 45
Ace Atkins
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