Ace Atkins
P.I. Spenser, knight-errant of the Back Bay, returns in Kickback, the latest in the iconic New York Times–bestselling series from author Ace Atkins. What started out as a joke landed 17-year-old Dillon Yates in a lockdown juvenile facility in Boston Harbor. When he set up a prank Twitter account for his vice principal, he never dreamed he could be brought up on criminal charges, but that’s exactly what happened. This is Blackburn, Massachusetts, where zero tolerance for minors is a way of life. Leading the movement is tough-as-nails Judge Joe Scali, who gives speeches about getting tough on today’s wild youth. But Dillon’s mother, who knows other Blackburn kids who are doing hard time for minor infractions, isn’t buying Scali’s line. She hires Spenser to find the truth behind the draconian sentencing. “It’s great to see Spenser tackle a social evil with its roots in real life,” our reviewer writes.


Spenser heads back to the Boston suburbs to help a mother whose son has been arrested for—wait for it—setting up a fake Twitter account.

When you’re the sort of kid who steps out of line in Blackburn, Judge Joe Scali knows what to do with you. Just ask Jake Cotner, who got nine months at the barbaric juvenile camp on Fortune Island for breaking windows in an old warehouse, or Ryan Bell, who did six months for throwing a steak at his crazy stepmother. But Sheila Yates, whose son Dillon has just drawn nine months for “stalking and terrorism” after posting humiliating tweets on an account he set up in the name of Blackburn High Vice Principal Luke Waters, isn’t about to take Dillon’s sentence lying down. She hires Spenser, who assures her, “I would’ve paid you to take this on,” and he goes into overdrive. So does the hanging juvie judge, along with his patron, district judge Gavin Callahan, every cop in Blackburn, and—once Spenser, as foretold by the imprudently spoiler title, has tied the rash of imprisoned kids to a for-profit corporation working hand in hand with the mob—a bunch of hard cases who clearly aren’t impressed by Spenser’s resume (Robert B. Parker’s Cheap Shot, 2014, etc.). Interpolated scenes at Fortune Island don’t intensify the suspense but simply break up the momentum.

The ritualistic series of face-offs will be red meat for franchise fans, and it’s great to see Spenser tackle a social evil with its roots in real life, even though his rescue of Dillon predictably fails to put much of a dent in even little Blackburn’s prison-for-profit scheme.

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Katey Sagal

author of GRACE NOTES

April 10, 2017
GRACE NOTES by Katey Sagal In her memoir Grace Notes, actress and singer/songwriter Katey Sagal takes you through the highs and lows of her life, from the tragic deaths of her parents to her long years in the Los Angeles rock scene, from being diagnosed with cancer at the age of twenty-eight to getting her big break on the fledgling FOX network as the wise-cracking Peggy Bundy on the beloved sitcom Married…with Children. Sparse and poetic, Grace Notes is an emotionally riveting tale of struggle and success, both professional and personal: Sagal’s path to sobriety; the stillbirth of her first daughter, Ruby; motherhood; the experience of having her third daughter at age 52 with the help of a surrogate; and her lifelong passion for music. “While this book is sure to please the author’s many fans, its thoughtful, no-regrets honesty will no doubt also appeal to readers of Hollywood memoirs seeking substance that goes beyond gossip and name-dropping,” our critic writes. “A candid, reflective memoir.” View video >

Emma Donoghue


April 3, 2017
THE LOTTERYS PLUS ONE by Emma Donoghue In Emma Donoghue’s new middle-grade novel, The Lotterys Plus One, Sumac Lottery is nine years old and the self-proclaimed "good girl" of her (VERY) large, (EXTREMELY) unruly family. And what a family the Lotterys are: four parents, children both adopted and biological, and a menagerie of pets, all living and learning together in a sprawling house called Camelottery. Then one day, the news breaks that one of their grandfathers is suffering from dementia and will be coming to live with them. And not just any grandfather; the long dormant "Grumps," who fell out with his son so long ago that he hasn't been part of any of their lives. Suddenly, everything changes. Sumac has to give up her room to make the newcomer feel at home. She tries to be nice, but prickly Grumps's clearly disapproves of how the Lotterys live: whole grains, strange vegetables, rescue pets, a multicultural household....He's worse than just tough to get along with—Grumps has got to go! But can Sumac help him find a home where he belongs? “Full of clever names and wordplay, this engaging tale is moving without veering into sentimentality,” our critic writes in a starred review. “For all the Lotterys’ apparent eccentricity, the novel delves into universal themes of family relationships that will resonate with readers from all backgrounds.” View video >