Silent Night: A Spenser Holiday Novel/Robert B Parker

Sharp, short crisp dialogue without a lot of parsley added on just to fill the plate.

An earlier version of Elvis Cole detective series, complete with a tough lead character whose heart is in the right place and whose self-avowed comedic prowess is slightly misplaced; a sketchy silent partner who provides muscle when called upon; and a capable, ever-suffering, attractive female companion; all working to help those in need.

I still like Elvis better, but having Boston instead of the more common settings is appealing.

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The Thirst: Jo Nesbo

The problem with writing books in as good a series as Nesbo’s Harry Hole story line is that sooner or later, like a first love, the bloom comes off the rose. After being wowed by an entry in the series, you somehow feel “cheated” when a next book is only “very good.”

The Thirst, while introducing a couple of new, intriguing characters (Hello Anders Wyller!) has too many clunky red herring littered throughout, creating a “fishy” plot line.