Robert B. Parker’s Little White Lies by Ace Atkins is another
winner. Having taken over writing the Spenser novels nothing
has been lost with this smart aleck character.
Using his past experience as a journalist Atkins created an
engaging story. Spenser’s long time girlfriend psychologist
Susan Silverman has referred one of her clients, Connie Kelly,
to him. Thinking she found the perfect man on an on-line dating
site Connie eagerly wrote him a check for hundreds of thousands
of dollars for a real estate investment. The problem is he
vanished with all of the money.
Enter Spenser to try to make things right. He finds out that
this cad, M. Brooks Welles, is actually a con man, owing plenty
of money to others as well. In fact, everything about him
is phony including his resume. A self-proclaimed military
hotshot and former CIA, Welles had been a frequent guest on
national news shows speaking with authority about politics
and world events. The rest of the book has Spenser trying
to track him down and get back the money of those Welles swindled.
Atkins noted, “When I worked as a journalist I covered
stories of con men and was fascinated with their personalities
and motivations. I made Welles a compilation of those I covered
as well as Wayne Simmons. He was a Fox news analyst, claiming
to be a CIA spy who also swindled a woman out of hundreds
of thousands of dollars. I wanted to point out how the backgrounds
of these TV talking heads are never vetted. Money is only
part of the con. They also enjoy the respect and the feeling
of importance. The reason many use the CIA as a profession
is because the Agency will not confirm or deny employment.”
One of Parker’s best characters is Dr. Susan. In this
novel she is front and center, which makes the story even
more enjoyable. It is fun to have her work with Spenser, where
her toughness and intelligence are highlighted. But a newer
character that is also getting more airtime is Boston PD Captain
Atkins wrote Glass “to bring to the Spenser world more
women characters. Also, I wanted to have someone in the police
more skeptical of his involvement with them. Instead of being
a friend, I wanted someone to question him more, where there
will be friction between him and the police.”
The relevance of the plot should not be lost on the readers.
Within an entertaining story this book has fake news, spinning
lies, and how facts can be spun.