Read Robert B. Parker's Slow Burn Online

Authors: Ace Atkins

Tags: #Mystery

Robert B. Parker's Slow Burn

BOOK: Robert B. Parker's Slow Burn
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Robert B. Parker’s Kickback

(by Ace Atkins)

Robert B. Parker’s Cheap Shot

(by Ace Atkins)

Silent Night

(with Helen Brann)

Robert B. Parker’s Wonderland

(by Ace Atkins)

Robert B. Parker’s Lullaby

(by Ace Atkins)


Painted Ladies

The Professional

Rough Weather

Now & Then

Hundred-Dollar Baby

School Days

Cold Service

Bad Business

Back Story

Widow’s Walk


Hugger Mugger

Hush Money

Sudden Mischief

Small Vices


Thin Air

Walking Shadow

Paper Doll

Double Deuce




Crimson Joy

Pale Kings and Princes

Taming a Sea-Horse

A Catskill Eagle


The Widening Gyre


A Savage Place

Early Autumn

Looking for Rachel Wallace

The Judas Goat

Promised Land

Mortal Stakes

God Save the Child

The Godwulf Manuscript


Robert B. Parker’s The Devil Wins

(by Reed Farrel Coleman)

Robert B. Parker’s Blind Spot

(by Reed Farrel Coleman)

Robert B. Parker’s Damned If You Do

(by Michael Brandman)

Robert B. Parker’s Fool Me Twice

(by Michael Brandman)

Robert B. Parker’s Killing the Blues

(by Michael Brandman)

Split Image

Night and Day

Stranger in Paradise

High Profile

Sea Change

Stone Cold

Death in Paradise

Trouble in Paradise

Night Passage


Spare Change

Blue Screen

Melancholy Baby

Shrink Rap

Perish Twice

Family Honor


Robert B. Parker’s Blackjack

(by Robert Knott)

Robert B. Parker’s The Bridge

(by Robert Knott)

Robert B. Parker’s Bull River

(by Robert Knott)

Robert B. Parker’s Ironhorse

(by Robert Knott)

Blue-Eyed Devil





Double Play

Gunman’s Rhapsody

All Our Yesterdays

A Year at the Races

(with Joan H. Parker)

Perchance to Dream

Poodle Springs

(with Raymond Chandler)

Love and Glory


Three Weeks in Spring

(with Joan H. Parker)

Training with Weights

(with John R.


Publishers Since 1838

An imprint of Penguin Random House LLC

375 Hudson Street

New York, New York 10014

Copyright © 2016 by The Estate of Robert B. Parker

Penguin supports copyright. Copyright fuels creativity, encourages diverse voices, promotes free speech, and creates a vibrant culture. Thank you for buying an authorized edition of this book and for complying with copyright laws by not reproducing, scanning, or distributing any part of it in any form without permission. You are supporting writers and allowing Penguin to continue to publish books for every reader.

eBook ISBN 9780698161245

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.


In memory of Elvis, a true wonder

evin always loved fire. His earliest memories were of his mother taking him to blazes, watching men in helmets and heavy coats pull hoses into burning buildings. He loved the way she looked at those men with honor and respect, and maybe something more. Just the crackle of the scanner, a far-off bell ringing, smoke trailing up into the sky made his heart jackhammer. When he drove through the night in his old Crown Vic, he felt like he owned the freakin’ city.

He kept the scanner under the
dashboard, a big antenna set on the trunk as he
roamed the streets of Hyde Park, Roxbury, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain,
Brookline, and up into Cambridge and Charlestown. All that spring
and summer, Kevin liked to drive slow, windows down, listening,
waiting, and sniffing the air. He’d work his
deadbeat job
during the day, sleeping through most of it, and then
take on the city at night. He, Johnny, and Big
Ray would meet up at Scandinavian Pastry in Southie, taking
breaks off patrol to talk call boxes, famous fires, new
equipment, and all the ways the current administration was fucking
up a long, proud tradition.

“Cocoanut Grove,” Johnny said, powdered sugar on his mustache. “It could happen again. Payoffs, bribes, and all these damn foreigners in this town. You just wait. Some asshole’s gonna be changing a lightbulb and poof.”

“Nobody gives a crap,” Ray said. “I’ve been warning the fire guys for ten years. Their equipment has turned to shit. They just don’t get it. Mayor won’t approve the new budget. Not with a gun to his nuts.”

And he’d look up at them, in that little corner Formica-topped table and ask, why don’t they do something? Why don’t they take action and save this city?

Kevin thought about this long and
hard. He and Johnny had talked about it a thousand
times. And he’d finally agreed to Johnny’s master plan. Save
the tradition. Keep Boston safe. Knock people in the side
of the head and make ’em listen. The city needed
firefighters—and a lot more of them. Guys ready to serve
who were shut out. He met Johnny’s eyes across the table. Johnny nodded and said, “Burn it.”

“Burn what?” Ray said. “Hey, you gonna eat that maple glazed? I’ve only had two.”

Kevin didn’t say anything, just leaned back farther in the booth, arm stretched out wide behind Johnny. Short,
squat Johnny cutting his eyes over at him and lifting an eyebrow. The scanner clucking off and on. Some bullshit Dumpster fire over by the T on Dot Ave. Probably a couple bums roasting a hot dog.

“We understand what’s wrong with the department,” Johnny said, wiping the sugar off his face. “It’s the only way. We got the know-how and the skills to make it work.”

Big Ray looked to each of them with wide, nutty eyes, waiting for someone to tell him what the hell was going on. The scanner caught again, sending the ladder truck and EMS back to the station. False alarm. Silence. Nothing. Fluorescent lights burning over the donut displays, cash register empty, unmanned. No one minding the store at two a.m.

“Burn it,” he said. “Johnny is right.”

“Burn what?” Big Ray said. “What the hell?”

“Boston, you fucking moron,” Johnny said. “We burn fucking

BOOK: Robert B. Parker's Slow Burn
5.96Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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