A Spenser Orgy

When Robert B. Parker died in 2010 I checked and saw that I had not read the last two Spenser novels so I added them to my list and read both of them last year. But as often happens, I was noting the newest Spenser published by the Parker estate but written by a carefully selected substitute and realized that the list of Spenser novels in the book was assuredly the final list. When I was in college it was suggested that I study only poets that had died, since then subsequent works would not be forthcoming to spoil my theories of the author’s writing.

So Parker is dead, I have read all the books he wrote, and I have the diffiitive list in front of me … so what do I find? More than five titles that do not appear on my Reading Inventory. Thanks to zippy computer searches, I was able to identify a few inaccuracies in my Parker list but five novels stood out as being unfamiliar (I even read the synopses at Google or Amazon). So this last weekend I made up the list, requested all five books at the library and subsequently found four of them online for my iPad reading pleasure (and, of course, free of charge). At the uber-literary chat Sunday night I told the intellectual world that I was intending to wallow in Spenser, Hawk, and Susan this week. Actually, Spenser appears to be more of a television memory than what comes from reading the books, so maybe the chat group is not that intellectual.

So this week has been full of Spenser:

  • Crimson Joy
  • Stardust
  • Pastime
  • Now and Then
  • Rough Weather.

I only have one to go and it’s been fun. I miss having a new Spenser every year or so with the often related novels focusing on Sunny Randall and Jesse Stone in between Parker’s foray into the wild west. I complained often about the over cute thuggishness of the patter between Spenser and Hawk, or about the unqualified perfection of Susan, but it all works and I think I’m glad to see a move to continue the series. I’m not sure the authors that have been chased to write the Jesse Stone novels and the Spenser novels are going to be on the same level as Robert B. Parker, but I’m willing to give them a chance.

I started reading Spenser when there was only four or five novels in the series. I have always considered that the actor best suited to play Spenser was Joe Don Baker in his more youthful phase. When Spenser For Hire premiered on television I watched almost every episode (and taped Miami Vice for a summer orgy of yet-another-drug story) but I hated the actors playing Spenser and Susan (although Avery Brooks as Hawk was perfect). Other actors playing Spenser in various television movies have been equally weak. The interesting thing about Joe Don Baker was that I chose him before I saw a photo of Robert Parker … Joe Don Baker could play Robert B. Parker too.

But I really do like Tom Selleck as Jesse Stone in the series of television movies based on Parker’s books.

…..

I was in college while Tom Selleck was playing basketball for USC; we always have called him “Whining boy.” But have you ever seen Selleck and Parker together?

By the way, although she’s much to young I have concluded that Anne Hathaway is the perfect Susan (easily out pacing all the other women chosen for that role … do you remember that they replaced Susan in Spenser For Hire? If they had only replace Robert Urich).

3 responses

  1. Man, I love me some Robert B. Parker. I actually prefer his Jesse Stone series, but not by much.

    They’re all great novels, and Parker can flat write circles around just about anybody out there.

    Like

    • I agree that in his genre, Parker has been one of the best writers. Of course, I started Spenser way back and there was no Jesse Stone so I tend to prefer Spenser myself (I never really got into Sunny Randall except when Parker played around with all the crossovers, even to the extent of making Sunny and Jesse a love interest). What did you think of the western novels like Appaloosa?

      Like

      • Appaloosa was out of this world.

        His other two, in my opinion, were still better than most westerns, but were sharp drop offs from Appaloosa.

        How did you see them?

        Like

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