Robert B. Parker
I was a fan. Truth be told, I still am.
Mr. Parker became famous as a writer behind his Spenser private investigator stories. Novels are what they were called, but they were stories. He wrote in a conversational manner that I found comforting, easy to read, and engaging.
I really didn’t like the Spenser stories all that much, but Mr. Parker came up with a couple of other characters and story lines that really hooked me, right from the beginning.
Jesse Stone (later portrayed on the small screen by Tom Selleck) is a disgraced LAPD homicide detective who has an ex-wife problem and a drinking problem, and ended up being the Chief of Police of the town of Paradise on the Eastern Seaboard. He's a smart and capable cop and I like him. I consider him a friend. He’s a baseball fan and a former player who got physically banged up, which ultimately led to his entry into law enforcement as a vocation.
Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch (portrayed on the big screen by Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen) were gunfighters and lawmen in the old West. The Cole and Hitch series of stories ended with the publication of Blue Eyed Devil, the last of the Parker novels. I liked Cole and Hitch.
I pre-ordered each and every upcoming novel about Jesse Stone and Cole & Hitch on Amazon.com. When the new book would arrive, I’d put aside whatever business was at hand and read the book. In it’s entirety. I inhaled the stories.
Hitch & Cole and Jesse Stone share some qualities. They’re stoic, flawed, smart, courageous, and have a well-defined sense of right and wrong.
I miss Robert B. Parker, and even more than him, I miss his characters. They are my friends, and I wonder what has happened to them.
If ever you are in the mood to see what a Robert Parker novel is like, I suggest Gunman’s Rhapsody, Parker’s take on the Wyatt Earp story.
Robert B. Parker died at his desk, writing, of a heart attack on January 18, 2010.