Sunday, July 15, 2012

Missing Robert B. Parker

I don't read as much crime fiction as I used to. A big part of that is because of the death of Robert B. Parker. Most years since 1980 or so, I read one to three books by Parker. He wrote fast and he turned out a lot of books. It's amazing, I suppose, that as many of them were as good as they were. Mostly I miss Parker's private eye hero Spencer. I enjoyed the Jesse Stone books, and the Sunny Randall novels, and especially the Virgil Cole Westerns, but Spenser was my favorite and I looked forward to that new novel every year. No more, sadly, no more. For some reason I've been thinking about Parker a lot lately. Perhaps it's because I'm writing about a private eye in the book I'm working on now. Wade Griffin probably has more in common with Jack Reacher and Joe Pike then Spenser, but I'm aware of Parker whenever I sit down to write one of the classic PI tropes like a gun fight or like when thugs come into Griffin's office to warn him off the case. Griffin is written in the third person, so I don't have to worry about falling into my Chandlerisms or my Parkerisms for the most part. Were I writing in first person, I'd probably be crossing out phrases I picked up from both writers and maybe a little John D. MacDonald as well. Anyway, I read a nice tribute to Parker by writer Ace Atkins, who is continuing the Spenser series. Seems Atkins is as big a Parker fan as I am, which makes me feel a bit better about ANYONE continuing Spenser's adventures. Don't know if I'll ever read one or not, but I'm glad Atkins is a fan and that writing the books is a big deal to him.

No comments: