ROBERT B. PARKER, R.I.P.
My world is a little darker today. In January, I started rereading Parker’s Spenser novels in order. I’ve blown through the first three and have been enjoying the experience. Now comes news Parker has passed away at age 77, and my initial response is of a far greater loss than I have felt when other favorite authors have died.
A Parker novel has always been an event for me no matter what series character or genre. Many readers and critics have panned Parker for everything from similarity in plots, to similarity in series characters, to everything his Susan Silverman character has ever said or done. He’s even criticized for the large borders in most of his books. However, I believe Parker’s body of work is as important as that of Chandler and Hammett – perhaps even more so, as his first forays into the hardboiled school not only honored the past, but revived a failing genre. In my estimation, it was Parker’s work and influence on the reading public that heralded a second, brighter, golden age of hardboiled novels.
I only met the man once in passing, but I have been affected by his work probably more than any other mystery writer.
I mourn his passing.