While this maybe Mr. Parker’s last book (he passed in 2010), his agent and friend of 32 years, Ms. Helen Brann, aided in the completion of this Spenser holiday novel. With that stated, this book was excellent in keeping my attention. I could not put it down. It was an easy and enjoyable read. I was amazed at how quickly Mr. Parker was able to shift in character speech patterns as it aided in the authenticity in the plot.
Silent Night opens with Spenser and Susan discussing Christmas and their plans. Spenser was still thinking about snow and the upcoming holiday when a new client walked in. An 11-year-old Slide had come to Spenser to get Spenser to meet with his mentor: Jackie Alvarez. Instead, Spenser gave Slide his card and told him whenever he or Jackie wanted to talk to call him.
Jackie showed up at Spenser’s office prior to Spenser coming back from lunch. Spenser opened the door, and he and Jackie entered to explain how he had started the unlicensed Street Business: a place for homeless/runaway boys to get a place to sleep, eat, shower, learn or work. Jackie explained how someone was trying to kick him out. He also stated his big brother Juan, a successful businessman, gave money but provided no other involvement. So Juan was not in a position to help.
Spenser takes on the case and receives help from his longtime friend Hawk. Along the path to find out who was threatening Jackie’s organization and stop them, information was strewn with moments of danger as Spenser discovers an elusive drug kingpin buying all the houses in the neighborhood to help expand his empire. The level of danger is equated with the more Spenser and Hawk search for answers.
This is a novel I found I had mixed emotions about as I enjoyed Silent Night while realizing the author, Robert B. Parker, is gone and so is the possibility of more novels. He, his talent and his imagination will be missed, but as long as one copy of any of his novels is around, Mr. Parker will not be forgotten as his talent lives on.
It’s December in Boston, and Spenser is busy planning the menu for Christmas dinner when he’s confronted in his office by a young boy named Slide. Homeless and alone, Slide has found refuge with an organization named Street Business, which gives shelter and seeks job opportunities for the homeless and lost. Slide’s mentor, Jackie Alvarez, is being threatened, and Street Business is in danger of losing its tenuous foothold in the community, turning Slide and many others like him back on the street. But it’s not a simple case of intimidation ? Spenser, aided by Hawk, finds a trail that leads to a dangerous drug kingpin, whose hold on the at-risk community Street Business serves threatens not just the boys’ safety and security, but their lives as well.
Unfinished at the time of his death, Silent Night was completed by Parker’s longtime agent, whose decades-long association with Parker’s work gives her unique insight and perspective to his voice and storytelling style. Her contribution also speaks volumes about their enduring friendship.