RIP Robert B. Parker: Crime Novelist as Virtuoso

A year or so ago, I wrote a column about getting older. It wasn’t so much about me, per se, or even humans — by which I mean I was concerned that many of my favorite crime authors are getting up there, and I was worried about how I could get through the world without such fictional friends as James Lee Burke’s Dave Robicheaux and Clete Purcel, John Connolly's Charley Parker, Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch, or Ian Rankin's John Rebus.

Indelibly tattooed on that list, of course, were Spenser and Hawk and a cop named Jesse Stone — and so the news comes down today that their brilliant creator, Robert B. Parker, has passed away in his beloved Boston.

I can’t tell you what bad news this is, or how grateful I am to Parker for his work over the course of probably 50 novels — and the entire mathematics department at Princeton couldn’t calculate how many happy-ass hours I spent reading Parker’s works.

Several years ago, just because I could, I re-read all the Spenser novels (at the time) in order. It was a fine investment of my energy.

As for this being a music blog, I must tell you: if you ever spent any time reading Parker, you know what an amazing virtuoso he was, and that there was incredible melody and rhythm in his words.

Early reports suggest Parker died at his desk in his home office. Is it too selfish of me to devoutly hope Parker had just typed THE END on his latest Spenser novel? It would certainly give me a small bit of comfort — and I know it woulda made Parker happy to go out in such fashion.


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