As a former Tampa Bay crime reporter, Ace Atkins has seen the best in people and also, the worst. He folded that knowledge into his fifth Robert B. Parker novel, "Slow Burn," about the Private Investigator Spenser, which revolves around the Boston Fire Department.
Atkins now lives in Oxford, Mississippi, but said he still considers Tampa home.
He took over writing the Spenser novels after Parker's death and said it was a dream come true for him. Atkins had corresponded with Parker when Atkins lived in Tampa. He said Parker's widow, Joan, was the catalyst to continuing the series. In writing the Spenser books, Atkins said, "It's much more intimate, it's a first-person narrative--it's in Spenser's voice. In many ways, as a young man, I learned to write by writing like Robert B. Parker," he said.
When asked how he thinks Parker would feel about his continuing the Spenser novels, Atkins said, "Parker himself was hired by the Raymond Chandler estate to do some Philip Marlowe novels, and he very happily did it, as Chandler being his hero, much like Robert Parker is my hero."
This novel, "Slow Burn" is about arson and like the other Spenser novels, is set in Boston.
Although Atkins said Robert Parker, the author who created the Spenser character, said Spenser would be Spenser even if he lived in Cleveland. But Atkins said, "the long running success of the series wouldn't be there without the city of Boston. It's just everything."