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.