Sometimes Spenser's detective style moves too slow for Mattie as is the case in this scene when Mattie is insisting, against Spenser's wishes, that she join him.
"Going somewhere?" I asked.
"That's not how I work.
"What about the birthday party?" I said. "Who gets the twins ready?"
"I can help," she said. "You need me. Hey, Grandma?"
"Mattie walked over and pushed at the gaunt woman's shoulder as she brushed past me to the door. Grandma stirred. I thought of a hundred ways to lose her or explain just how I did my job. I could force the issue."
"Mattie stood outside the door and pointed to the center of my chest. 'Whatta you want? Me to hold your hand? C'mon."
"Yes, your highness."
Later there's an exchange which made me laugh out loud. They're showing photos of Mattie's mom at a bar she used to frequent. When the person seems confused Mattie clarifies things: "He's a detective, numb nuts," Mattie said. "And that's a picture of my ma. She used to make happy hour at this shithole, every day from the time she was out of of high school. You know her or not?"
"I'll be the good cop," Spenser said.
One last thing before the interview: just as Atkins is writing these books for the Parker estate Parker himself finished one book, Poodle Springs, at the request of the Raymond Chandler estate. Chandler had started it but not completed it before he died. Parker also later wrote Perchance to Dream, a sequel to Chandler's The Big Sleep. I mention this because Atkins alludes to it. He also alludes to Joan, Robert Parker's widow. Many of Parker's books, as well as Atkin's first Spenser book, is dedicated to Joan Parker.
So last time I interviewed you had just published your first book in the series, The Ranger. Do you want to say a few words about the second book in that series, The Lost Ones - when it's coming out and what it's about- before I devote the rest of the interview to talking about your first Spenser book, Lullaby?
The Lost Ones. May 31. Buy it! Seriously, it's definitely an important piece of an evolving story of Quinn Colson and Tibbehah County. Secret histories and whispered stories from The Ranger are learned in this second story and we get a glimpse of a lot more to come.