Robert B. Parker Died This Week

For those of you who didn’t see the announcement, one of the true legends in the suspense thriller field and one of my personal heroes died Monday at 77. Robert Parker, creator of Spenser and Hawk and Susan and Pearl, suffered a fatal heart attack sitting at his desk working on a new book. We should all be so lucky to go the same way, doing what we love and what we do best.

Parker was incredibly prolific, turning out, I’m told, at least three finished novels a year including the Spenser books and a couple of spin-off series, one featuring female PI, Sonny Randall and another featuring a working cop named Jesse Stone.

Spenser, however was his signal creation.  The NY Times obit described Spenser this way, “…like Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe, but with a sensitivity born of the age of feminism and civil rights, Spenser is a bruiser in body but a softie at heart, someone who never shies from danger or walks away from a threat to the innocent. Mr. Parker gave him many of his own traits. Spenser is an admirer of any kind of expertise. He believes in psychotherapy. He’s a great cook. He’s a boxer, a weightlifter and a jogger, a consumer of doughnuts and coffee, a privately indulgent appreciator (from a distance) of pretty women, a Red Sox fan, a dog lover. (Mr. Parker owned a series of short-haired pointers, all named Pearl, like their fictional incarnation.) “

Parker also wrote westerns, young adults and westerns. If there’s anyone out there who hasn’t read him yet, I urge you all to jump in now with both feet.  I doubt you’ll ever come across another writer who’ll delight you in so many ways.

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