I have to admit, I stopped reading Robert B. Parker's novels several years ago, and as a result I missed his last few Spenser novels. I may have to go back and catch up on them, because I just read ROBERT B. PARKER'S LULLABY, the first Spenser pastiche by Ace Atkins, and it's given me a taste for the series again.
I've never read anything else by Atkins, although I've been meaning to. Turns out he was a good choice to continue this series, because LULLABY really does read a lot like Parker's work, especially the earlier books in the series. Spenser is hired, sort of, by a 14-year-old girl to find out who really murdered her mother four years earlier. A family friend was convicted of the crime and is in prison, but the girl doesn't believe he's guilty and wants her mom's real killers brought to justice. Of course, things don't turn out to be quite as simple as they appear at first.
The plot and the way Atkins handles it are very Parker-like. He has a great handle on the characters, too, especially Spenser and Hawk. The main differences are stylistic and pretty minor. Atkins' paragraphs are a little longer than Parker's. There's not quite as much dialogue. The banter doesn't seem quite as witty to me, but it's still pretty darned witty. If this book had been published under Parker's name, there's a good chance I would have accepted it as his work, although I should point out that I've always been just a casual reader of Parker's books and hardly qualify as a scholar on such matters.