Sixkill (Spenser Series #39)

( 128 )

Overview


On location in Boston, bad-boy actor Jumbo Nelson is accused of the rape and murder of a young woman. From the start the case seems fishy, so the Boston PD calls on Spenser to investigate. Things don't look so good for Jumbo, whose appetites for food, booze, and sex are as outsized as his name. He was the studio's biggest star, but he's become its biggest liability.

In the course of the investigation, Spenser encounters Jumbo's bodyguard: a young, former football-playing ...

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Sixkill (Spenser Series #39)

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Overview


On location in Boston, bad-boy actor Jumbo Nelson is accused of the rape and murder of a young woman. From the start the case seems fishy, so the Boston PD calls on Spenser to investigate. Things don't look so good for Jumbo, whose appetites for food, booze, and sex are as outsized as his name. He was the studio's biggest star, but he's become its biggest liability.

In the course of the investigation, Spenser encounters Jumbo's bodyguard: a young, former football-playing Native American named Zebulon Sixkill. He acts tough, but Spenser sees something more within the young man. Despite the odd circumstances, the two forge an unlikely alliance, with Spenser serving as mentor for Sixkill. As the case grows darker and secrets about both Jumbo and the dead woman come to light, it's Spenser-with Sixkill at his side-who must put things right.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

This novel arrives as a bittersweet gift: Sixkill is Robert B. Parker's 39th Spenser novel, but it is also his final work; its author having died in January 2010. The crisp precision and ear-perfect dialogue of this thriller will redouble readers' sense of loss. As always, Parker poses questions about both motivations and the identity of culprit. In this case, Spenser's search for the truth behind a case of rape and murder entangles him in the lives of a chronically misbehaving actor and his Native American bodyguard, whose last name gives this fiction its title. One mystery author everyone should know.

Marilyn Stasio
…Spenser applies his usual skills (one part muscle flexing to three parts snappy repartee) to a case in which mobsters and movie people figure prominently. But Parker's real coup in this novel is introducing us to Zebulon Sixkill, the athletically gifted Cree Indian Spenser rescues from a demeaning job as Jumbo's "driver, booze buddy and pimp." It's too sad to think about the further adventures these two might have had…
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
An intriguing new supporting character and the usual entertaining dialogue lift the 39th and, sadly, last Spenser novel (after Painted Ladies) from MWA Grand Master Parker (1932–2010). When 20-year-old Dawn Lopata expires of apparent asphyxiation after having sex with megamovie star Jumbo Nelson in his hotel room, Spenser's best friend in the Boston PD, Capt. Martin Quirk, arranges for Nelson's defense attorney to hire Spenser. Though it appears the obnoxious Nelson killed Lopata, Quirk has his doubts. Spenser's initial attempt to get Nelson to talk about what happened ends in mutual threats and insults. While the truth about the fatal night takes a backseat for too long to make the resolution satisfying, the scenes featuring Spenser's longtime love interest, Susan Silverman, are as snappy as ever. Zebulon "Z" Sixkill, the actor's American Indian bodyguard with whom the PI develops an unexpected relationship, would probably have gotten more play in future books had Parker lived to write them. (May)
Library Journal
Parker's final Spenser book is a reminder of just how much we'll miss the beloved crime writer, who died in January 2010. Zebulon Sixkill, a Cree Indian whose college football career was sidetracked by the love of a bad woman, is the bodyguard for Jumbo Nelson, a (physically) huge movie star working in Boston. Jumbo's outsized appetites leave a young woman dead, and with Z the only potential witness, Jumbo's guilt or innocence becomes an open question. When Jumbo fires Z, Spenser takes him in and refines Z from an intimidating presence to a genuinely dangerous man. When Spenser tells Susan Silverman, "I know what I like and what I don't like, and what I'm willing to do and what I'm not, and I try to be guided by that," readers couldn't ask for a better epitaph for Spenser and Parker. [See Prepub Alert, 11/1/10.]
Kirkus Reviews

The mysterious death of a star-struck young woman who struck a star's fancy provides the basis for Spenser's valedictory outing.

One minute Dawn Lopata was alive in her hotel-room bed, the next she was dead, somehow strangled while she was in the bathroom. At least that's the story Jumbo Nelson tells. Since it's not much of a story, his movie studio hires Rita Fiore's Boston law firm to dig deeper, and Rita hires Spenser to do the real digging. The job's not easy, because among all of Spenser's checkered clientele (Painted Ladies,2010, etc.), Jumbo is the most repellent, a truculent brat who cares about nothing but his own oversized appetites. It's no surprise when he fires Spenser and Rita, leaving Spenser to work the case pro bono and giving him the potential to irritate some very influential people. The only bright spot is Jumbo's Cree bodyguard, Zebulon Sixkill. On their first encounter, Spenser and Z sniff around each other; on their second, Spenser thrashes Z. But Spenser breaks the mold when Z turns up asleep outside Spenser's office door, and Spenser takes him in and starts the one-time college-football star, whose back story is presented through a series of awkward flashbacks, on the road to redemption. As luck would have it, the road winds through some familiar areas: serving as a sparring partner, passing on crucial information about Dawn Lopata's last moments, backing up Spenser's play against the local thugs hired to beat him up, and cutting back on the sauce so that he'll be sharp enough to help deal with the inevitable tough guys from Hollywood who regard Jumbo as a cash cow whose value has to be maintained no matter what.

By no means as substantial or resourceful as Parker's best, but a treasurable demonstration of the bromide that "life is mostly metaphor"—at least to the peerless private eye and his fans.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425246900
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/3/2012
  • Series: Spenser Series , #39
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 146,037
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert B. Parker, who died in January 2010, was the author of more than fifty books, including the recent New York Times bestsellers Painted Ladies and Blue-Eyed Devil.

Biography

Robert B. Parker began as a student of hard-boiled crime writers such as Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, but when he became a crime writer himself, he was one of the rare contemporary authors to be considered on par with his predecessors. The Spenser series, featuring a Boston-based ex-boxer and ex-cop, is one of the genre's most respected and popular fixtures.

Noted for their sharp dialogue and fine character development, the Spenser books carry on a tradition while updating it, particularly in giving its hero two strong alter egos in Hawk, a black friend and right-hand man; and Susan Silverman, Spenser's psychologist love interest. Parker's inclusion of other races and sexual persuasions (several of his novels feature gay characters, a sensibility strengthened in Parker through his sons, both of whom are gay) give a more modern feel to the cases coming into Spenser's office.

The Spenser series, which began with 1973's The Godwulf Manuscript, has an element of toughness that suits its Boston milieu; but it delves just as often into the complex relationship between Silverman and Spenser, and the interplay between the P.I. and Hawk.

By the late ‘80s, Parker had acquired such a reputation that the agent for Raymond Chandler's estate tapped him to finish the legend's last book, Poodle Springs. It was a thankless mission bound to earn criticism, but Parker carried off the task well, thanks to his gift for to-the-point writing and deft plotting. "Parker isn't, even here, the writer Chandler was, but he's not a sentimentalist, and he darkens and deepens Marlowe," the Atlantic concluded. In 1991, Parker took a second crack at Chandler with the Big Sleep sequel Perchance to Dream.

Parker took other detours from Spenser over the years. In 1999, Family Honor introduced Sunny Randall, a female Boston private eye Parker created with actress Helen Hunt in mind. Two years earlier, he introduced L.A.-to-New England cop transplant Jesse Stone in Night Passage. He also authored four bestselling Westerns featuring Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch, a few young adult books, as well as several stand-alone novels that were well-received by his many fans.

Parker died suddenly in January 2010 while at home at his desk, working on a book. The cause was a heart attack. He was seventy-seven.

Good To Know

Parker's thesis in graduate school was a study of the private eye in literature that centered on Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett and Ross MacDonald. Critics would later put him in the same category as those authors.

Parker's main hero is named for Edmund Spenser, the 16th-century author of The Faerie Queene.

Parker had a hand in writing the scripts for some television adaptations of Spenser books starring Robert Urich, who also played Spenser in the ABC series from 1985-88. Urich suffered a battle with cancer and passed away in 2002, but adaptations continue to be made for A&E, starring Joe Mantegna. Parker approved of the new actor, telling the New York Times: ''I looked at Joe and I saw Spenser."

According to a profile in the New York Times, Parker met his wife Joan when the two were toddlers at a birthday party. The two reconnected as freshmen at Colby College and eventually had two sons. They credit the survival of their marriage to a house split into separate living spaces, so that the two can enjoy more independent lives than your average husband and wife.

Parker told fans in a 1999 Barnes & Noble.com chat that he thought his non-series historical novel All Our Yesterdays was "the best thing I've ever written."

Parker had a small speaking part in the 1997 A&E adaptation of Small Vices. How does he have time to write his Spenser books, plus the other series and the adaptation stuff? "Keep in mind, it takes me four or five months to write a novel, which leaves me a lot of time the rest of the year," he told Book magazine. "I don't like to hang around."

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    1. Date of Birth:
      September 17, 1932
    2. Place of Birth:
      Springfield, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Death:
      January 18, 2010
    2. Place of Death:
      Cambridge, Massachusetts
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English, Colby College, 1954; M.A., Ph. D. in English, Boston University, 1957, 1971
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 128 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(48)

4 Star

(36)

3 Star

(26)

2 Star

(10)

1 Star

(8)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 129 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 12, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    RIP

    What a shame that the only review (so far) on this last novel by Robert B. Parker isn't about the book at all. I hope the website fixes this, not only for this book, but for all the so-called reviews which argue about the cost of ebooks or other topics. Sixkill is a fitting departure for Mr. Parker. I enjoyed it from start to finish.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 23, 2011

    Beloved Spenser...

    Another installment of Spenser as only the great Robert Parker could do it. I loved the new character of Sixkill. I will miss Slpenser's wit and wisdom. And I will forever miss Robert Parker's tremendous writing skills. A one of a kind author that entertains with every one of his books. It is like losing a dear friend. I would recommend the Spenser series to everyone!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 12, 2011

    Read it, but, don't expect closure

    I may just be tired of the series - but, I found this pretty flat. I really liked the new character, but, something just didn't work for me.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2014

    Blue

    Okay, l can do Grammar/Writing grades 6th and younger, mbe 7th.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2014

    Marie

    Those aren't set up. There was an emergency homework call, so Kat is busy. Give it time bro

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2014

    Ferns

    I got math grades 8 and down and can do 6-8 Grammar/Spelling, but not English. I know grammar, but l suck at pronouns and adjectives and all that other stuff.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2014

    Kat

    Okay, give me a problem to help you with. Like on your homework.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2014

    Holly ( andrews twin sister )

    Andrews in his room siting on his bed hes just lost one of the bigest games in the sesson and is taking it kinda hard

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2014

    Really solid. Another satisfying read from Robert B. Parker.

    Really solid.

    Another satisfying read from Robert B. Parker.


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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2012

    Solid Spenser

    Sadly, Mr. Parker's last Spenser tome. Sixkill is a solid addition to the Spenser library. Typical Spenser dialogue and action. However, with it being Parker's last Spenser, I missed having one more engagement with Hawk and the rest of the typical gang who are largely missing from this effort.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2012

    Good read, but Parker not a top of his game in this one.

    I'm a big Robert B. Parker fan. Great dialog. Interesting characters, who develop as the Spenser series moves along. Like Little Orphan Annie, Spenser never ages over the years. Sixkill seems more like it follows a formula, rather than being a fresh work. It is still worth the read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2011

    Good, fun story

    Have always been a Spencer fan. This book wasn't as good as the other Spencer stories but I still enjoyed it. It was a quick, fun read but I missed Hawk!

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  • Posted July 27, 2011

    Great read

    This is what I expect from Parker. Finished in just over a day.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 9, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    is a great entry made fresh by the title character

    Bad boy actor Jumbo Nelson is in Boston on a film shoot. Boston PD has arrested him for the rape and murder of unemployed junior college grad Dawn Lopata. Over coffee, BPD detective Quirk tells his friend Spenser the case smells though the evidence seems overwhelming while the media wants to guillotine the "creep".

    Spenser agrees to look into the homicide though from what he knows of the actor he deserves lock-up, just probably not for this murder. The private investigator meets Jumbo's booze buddy bodyguard Native American Zebulon Sixkill, Spenser sees passed the tough guy image Z displays for the world to the inner person who is a caring soul. As they team up and he mentors Z, the case turns even uglier with bi-coastal connections.

    With his mind boggling superb thirty-ninth Spenser thriller, the late Robert B. Parker pays homage to him self. This is a great entry made fresh by the title character. The story line is action-packed from the moment Quirk quietly asks for Spenser's street savvy assistance and never slows down as Mr. Parker provides an entertaining mystery.

    Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 28, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Probably his best in a couple years

    Zebulon Sixkill is a keeper! A new and intriguing character as only Parker can create! I hope some other writer picks up the franchise and carries on the tradition. R.I.P. Mr. Parker...you'll be missed!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2011

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    Posted May 30, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2011

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