Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Passages - The Death of Robert B. Parker

The word spread today that author Robert B. Parker passed away at his home in Massachusetts.

I'm incredibly sad that his voice is now silent. His and those of his memorable characters, most notably Boston P.I. Spenser, but also Hawk, Susan Silverman, Lt. Quirk, Frank Belson and all of the others who populated his books over the last 37 years.

The Spenser series was his most famous. I started reading this series in the early 80s with a book called Valediction. Powerful stuff and after I finished I immediately searched out the previous books in the series. I was all caught up when A Catskill Eagle was released and this book remains one of my favorite books of all time.

Spenser is an iconic character. A former boxer and police officer, now a private investigator. The man is tough as they come physically with an unwavering code of honor who defines his own rules and lives by them. He has a soft spot for the underdog and will help even the foolish who get themselves into more trouble than they can handle. He'll punish the wrongdoers and straighten out a mess to give someone a chance that they deserve. Those whom he loves, he loves wholeheartedly and will protect them with his last breath.

He also likes to cook, eat, and drink good whiskey and beer. Loves his dog. Loves to read and has a wealth of knowledge to rival an English professor. He's as ready with a literary quote as he is with a smart ass quip or an uppercut.

He's a book character so, in a sense, he will never be gone. I don't have to speak of him in past tense. Yet, when the books already written but not published finally come out, it will be the end of a legend in crime/detective fiction.

I'm going to miss him when there are no new stories left to read.

Mr. Parker, if you're up there knocking back a few with Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammet and John D. McDonald, thanks for all the terrific reads.

Rest in Peace.