Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My Three Favorite Robert B. Parker Books

The writer Robert B. Parker died yesterday of a heart attack at his home in Cambridge. He was 77 years old and died while writing. I can think of worse ways to go.

I've been a fan of his books since I was about thirteen years old and first picked up one of my mom's copies of a Spenser novel. Of the thirty or so Spenser books I've probably read about twenty, plus I've read a couple of the Jesse Stone novels. He wrote funny, fast-paced mystery books. They weren't ground-breaking or life-altering, but they were always entertaining. I do believe he got worse as he got older, and that the early Spenser novels were by far the best writing he did.

Another thing that was nice about Spenser novels was that they were set in Boston and he did a great job of describing the area. Also, Parker always focused on food and drink. If Spenser got a meal in a restaurant, Parker would always tell you what he ate. I appreciated that. I hate when I read a novel and the author never tells you what someone's having for dinner.

These are my three favorite Spenser books:

A Savage Place. Spenser travels to Los Angeles to protect a news personality. A dark book, and maybe I like it because Spenser cheats on long-time girlfriend Susan Silverman, not my favorite character in the series.

God Save the Child. The first Spenser novel I read. Lots of great satire revolving around a hideous suburban couple squabbling over a child.

Early Autumn. Probably the best Spenser novel. It's similar to God Save the Child, except that Spenser kidnaps the child he's supposed to protect.

Rest in Peace.


  1. This is great. When I found out he passed away yesterday, I meant to ask you if you had read his stuff. And apparently you had.

  2. Does this mean that Robert Parker also created the character Hawk, or was that just on the TV show?

  3. Parker created Hawk and he's in almost all the books. Like the girlfriend Susan Silverman, I started to get a little tired of Hawk, although he's very cool in the early books.