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Robert B. Parker’s Old Black Magic by Ace Atkins ~~ A Review

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5 out of 5 quills   Old Black Magic by Ace Atkins  ~~  A Review

 

Once again Ace Atkins nails it!!  Old Black Magic is right up there with the best of Robert B. Parker’s previous books. 
But readers better brush up on the history of Boston, as seen through Parker’s eyes, the hoodlums and mobsters over the past twenty years (introduced in the Spenser series)  ’cause they all show back up, alive and dead. The biggest heist of millions of dollars in classic art from a museum in Boston and the case was never solved. It finally goes cold for over twenty years. Hired by the museum to find the art, Spenser and Vinnie Morris team up…odd bedfellows to say the least. ….and that’s all I’m giving you of the story line.  

I don’t write spoilers in my reviews but I am known for sometimes running off on a tangent that has much or little to do with the book. So I thought it would be fun to see if the story plot had any truth to it…as truth tends to be stranger than fiction. Bingo!! Here’s what I found:  El Greco’s Gentleman was stolen and not returned to its rightful owners for decades.  But it was not a Boston crime crew who knocked it off but rather the Nazis!

‘In 1920, Mr. Priester began amassing a notable art collection of Old Masters, including the famous El Greco, which he displayed in his Vienna home and office. By 1938, however, Mr. Priester was forced to flee with his wife to Paris to escape the Nazis
Before leaving, Mr. Priester entrusted his impressive collection to a friend, but the art was ultimately seized by the Gestapo after the Anschluss with Germany. At the end of the war in 1945, Mr. Priester, who had escaped to Mexico City, undertook an internationally publicized recovery effort with the help of the Austrian authorities, but his collection and the El Greco painting could not be located before his death. 

After WWII, restitution of stolen art work would often take decades. But sometimes it could be accomplished seamlessly if the dealers who purchased the stolen art agreed to cooperate with the claimants, as recently occurred in the case of the stolen El Greco painting, Portrait of a Gentleman.

In a rare deal announced by the Commission for Looted Art in Europe, representing the original owners, and Art Recovery International, representing the art gallery which acquired the looted painting in 2010, Portrait of a Gentleman was returned to the heirs of the collection of Julius Priester. This deal took several months to arrange after seven long decades searching for the masterpiece.’ (credit: Observer.com)

Ace Atkins

So I digress a little…sue me!  But, am I the only one that finds stuff like this fascinating?

This is a terrific story and Ace Atkins tells it flawlessly in Robert B. Parker’s voice.  I highly recommend it.
 

Did you miss my interview with Ace Atkins?
Old Black Magic on Sale Now!!  Click here
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 MY  features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   March: Mystery (and Western) writer, Larry D. Sweazy.  April: International adventurer, writer, Tal Gur.  June: Mystery writer, Manning Wolfe.
 
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A Review ~~ The Innocents by Ace Atkins

reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing Five out five quills     A Review    The Innocents by Ace Atkins

Ace is  a quintessential storyteller.  He takes us to the back waters of Mississippi and seduces Ace.Book..Scanus with his wonderful, oh-so-human characters.  So richly drawn that we fall in love with every one of them.  Quinn Colson, the ex-war hero turned part-time sheriff’s deputy; Lillie Virgil, the female Sheriff with a no-nonsense-get-things-done attitude, lashing the bad guys with a dirty mouth.  A train load of other fascinating, and sometimes funny, cast of characters. My favorite type of book; one in which I can revisit the environs and the people and read about what they’ve been up to since I last visited.

And the funny thing is you had no interest in visiting these little one horse towns such as Blackjack, Sugar Ditch, and Jericho; much less meet all these rednecks.  But if you trust me not to steer you wrong, you’ll definitely enjoy yourself in the new book by Ace Atkins, The Innocents.

(A preview from amazon.com) ‘Quinn Colson didn’t owe his home town of Jericho, Mississippi, a damn thing. After serving for more than a decade as a U.S. Army Ranger, he’d returned, been elected sheriff, and tried to make the town and surrounding Tibbehah county a better place. He was rewarded with being voted out of office, and went back to the war zone he’d left.      Now, back in Jericho, trying to fix things with his still-married high school girlfriend and retired Hollywood stuntman father, he’s drawn to becoming a lawman again. This time, he accepts a badge from acting Sheriff Lillie Virgil, a foul-mouthed law woman with shades of Calamity Jane. But what they must confront together is something brand-new. When a former high school cheerleader is found walking a back road completely engulfed in flames…..’

The mystery aspect is just too delicious.  I never saw it coming…who really killed the cheerleader. Atkins takes us on a twisted road of investigative prowess.

And let us not forget Ace Atkins is the same writer who has kept Robert Parker’s books alive.  He writes as Parker so fans can continue to enjoy another brilliant storyteller.
I highly recommend Ace’s latest offering.  You won’t regret it!!  Released July 12th.

Did you read my INTERVIEW with Ace Atkins?  Click Here

 

 

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DON’T MISS UPCOMING BLOGS featuring INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS! In April, a long awaited interview with Kathleen Grissom (The Kitchen House)   Michael Saad, Canadian author, was June’s author. Robyn Carr is July’s author. Check out Motivational Moments…for Writers!

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A Review…The Forsaken by Ace Atkins

reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing  Five out of five quills!  REVIEW    ‘The Forsaken’ by Ace AtkinsAce.index

This author and I have much in common; we both have a collection of original paperbacks by John McDonald (Travis McGee) and we both love Robert Parker (Spenser). Where we differ is Ace has achieved perfection in prose writing which I aspire to….someday.

I strongly recommend to my readers that if you are going to read stories about Ace’s main character, Quinn Colson, that you do so in order.  There is a strong story thread throughout the series and you will enjoy these books so much more.

The Forsaken doesn’t disappoint. It’s my favorite to date.  As in his other books Ace gives his readers a strong sense of the old south, Mississippi to be exact.  How do I know this?  I lived there for four years in the 70’s and since then have moved in and out of the south;  New Orleans and currently Savannah, Georgia.  Without it ever seeming like a travel log, before you are many pages into the book, you can smell the dust of the back roads, the earthy slightly rotten smell of the bayous sticks in the back of your throat.  You may have never met the ‘good old boys’ but you know them and the women who follow along.  more »

My Interview with Ace Atkins, (Part 2)

Q. HAce.cafeow long after that were you published?

A. Two years after I became a full-time reporter, I sold my first novel. I had finished a novel right after college but it was horrible. It was good enough to get me an agent, but I’m grateful now that no one bought it. One of the major mistakes young writers make is quitting after finishing their first book and waiting for their careers to take off. You must be prepared to write a dozen novels before one works.

Q. What makes a writer great?

A. Hard work and an eye for realism. The better the writer, the more the truth comes out.

Q. and the all important: What does the process of going from “no book” to “finished book” look like? 

A. It changes with each project. I’ve written 15 published novels. And each one, like children, present new and unique challenges. I have had books that were effortless to write and edit. I have had some that I finished only to realize they required a complete retooling. It changes every time.

Q. Where/when do you first discover your characters? more »

Don’t Miss Part 2! My Interview with author, Ace Atkins

Ace Atkins

Ace Atkins

Tomorrow we continue my  INTERVIEW with best selling author, Ace Atkins!Ace.index

Excerpt:

Q. Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?

A. For the young writers out there, keep working. Don’t get caught up on the business of writing. If you have a good story to tell, it will get through. And as long as you love the process of writing, you’ve got most aspiring authors out there beat! Good luck.

As a reporter, Ace earned a Pulitzer Prize nomination for a feature series based on his investigation into a forgotten murder of the 1950s. The story became the core of his critically acclaimed novel, White Shadow, which earned raves from noted authors and critics.ACEFeedstore_aceatkins-4   Click here to read Part 1.

 

Ace’s latest book, The Forsaken will go on sale July 24th

“The extraordinary new novel in New York Times-bestselling author Ace Atkins’ acclaimed series about the real Deep South—“a joy ride into the heart of darkness” (The Washington Post).

By far my favorite book in the Quinn Colson series.  Look for my review soon!

 

Interview with NY Times Best Seller Author, Ace Atkins

Ace.stepsAs a fan I first discovered Ace when I saw that Robert Parker’s stories were being continued after his death.  Ace was selected by the Robert B. Parker estate to continue the bestselling adventures of Boston’s iconic private eye, Spenser.  That led to my wanting to read more of this brilliant author’s work.  And that ultimately led to my wanting to interview him.

Q. Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, special space for your writing? 

A. I have an office on the square in Oxford, Mississippi. It’s a good place in a historic building with creaky heart pine floors and tall ceilings, filled with lawyers hard at work. I don’t think I could stand to have complete seclusion. I used to work in a big city newsroom – at The Tampa Tribune – and I like all the energy around me as I write.

Q. Do you have any special rituals when you sit down to write? (a neat work space, sharpened #2 pencils, legal pad, cup of tea, glass of brandy, favorite pajamas, etc.)

A. A decent computer, preferably using an old-fashioned IBM clicky keyboard, and a strong cup of coffee. On some projects, I might have a bit of whiskey in the mug. But that’s usually later in the day.

Q. Could you tell us something about yourself that we might not already know?

A. I have an extensive collection of rare movie posters and stills, a collection that I started in high school. I also own every original paperback produced by the great John D. MacDonald. <(So do I, Ace!!!)

Q. Do you have a set time each day to write or do you write only when you are feeling creative? more »

Don’t Miss my Interview with author, Ace Atkins!

Ace.3.July 19th begins my two part interview with NY Times Best Selling author, Ace Atkins.  In addition to writing for Robert Parker and continuing the mystery series for Boston’s iconic private eye, Spenser, Ace is a wonderful writer, authoring his own books, The Broken Places, The Lost Ones and The Ranger (just to name a few).

‘A former journalist who cut his teeth as a crime reporter in the newsroom of The Tampa Tribune, he published his first novel, Crossroad Blues, at 27 and became a full-time novelist at 30. In 2010, he was selected by the Robert B. Parker estate to continue the author’s work after his death. more »