Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Sixkill by Robert B. Parker

It's the end of an era, and a big, BIG chunk of my life.  Robert B. Parker's last novel (and last Spenser novel) came out yesterday.  It arrived in the mail, preordered from Amazon, and I just haven't had the heart to sit down with it to read it.

When I do, a piece of me will be gone.

I started reading the series back in 1978, starting with Promised Land.  For the next 32 years, I hung with Parker through thick and thin, and I learned a lot about being a writer and a lot about being a man.  My father was often never around when I was a kid, and he wasn't a guy you could connect with.  He had some hard things go on in his life (one of them was the Korean War) and those experiences left him distant.

So I had books like Mortal Stakes, Looking for Rachel Wallace, and Early Autumn to help me build a foundation for the man I wanted to become.  For the most part, it's all worked out.  Never got that growth spurt I was counting on, though, but I've done okay for myself.

I just found out last week that the Spenser series will continue with Ace Atkins at the helm, but it's not going to be the same.  That's one of the things I learned about real life all on my own:  things are very seldom the same for long.

In Parker's worlds, though, you could count on fundamentals being there every time.  I'm counting on it in this book, but I know it's going to slip right through my fingers.  I can go back and re-read them (I usually do that with one of those three previously mentioned novels or Love & Glory every year anyway) but it's just not going to be the same.


Bill Crider said...

Well said, Mel. I feel pretty much the same. I started with THE GODWULF MANUSCRIPT and haven't missed one since. I don't think I'll have the heart even to try one of Atkins' books. Nothing against him or his writing. It just wouldn't be the same.

Jon Guenther said...

I think this is a mistake. Mr. Parker (may he rest in peace) had a style and voice that cannot be replicated, no matter how skilled the writer. It also shocks me that Joan Parker's permitting this. There are some things better left alone.