May 1, 2024

Robert B. Parker and Spenser. Oh, that they still lived.

“Nothing makes a thriller look better than the International Booker Prize longlist this year.”

I found this thought, while flipping through my Hobonichi, written this March. While it may surprise you that I found the list of books chosen to contend for the International Booker Prize 2024 less than inspiring, it should not come as a surprise to learn of my passion for thrillers. Mysteries that are well written, that is. Mysteries like those written by Tana French, or Ken Follett, or most especially, Robert B. Parker.

I’d refer you to posts I’ve written about Robert B. Parker’s Spenser series, but they’re all deleted. So, I’ll have to tell you here, briefly, that Spenser is everything I love in a man.

He is brave and strong and courageous. He has integrity and compassion and excellence. He is witty and tender and tough all at the same time. Parker gives us a complete picture of this character, so real he seems born of flesh to me.

But, I also love that Parker speaks of things long gone, which I remember clearly. Like eating at a Hamburger Hamlet, or a kid turning on the television, and waiting for it to warm up before watching My Three Sons. I like being reminded of the styles in decades past, such as the horrible polyester suits with white leather belts, or mini skirts and jumpsuits. It’s such a wonderful, nostalgic gift to me.

I have read all of the Spenser books before, but this time, I am rereading them in order. Starting from the very first, The Godwulf Manuscript, (which, frankly, isn’t nearly as developed as the subsequent books in the series) and working my way to the very last Silent Night, which is the fortieth book.

Along the way we meet Hawk and Susan Silverman, Rachel Wallace and Paul Giacomin. Their relationships deepen and develop as we go along, and I am in my element, spending time as if with friends. As soon as I put down my iPad, I will pick up book number eight, A Savage Place. But, it will be hard to surpass what may be my favorite of all, which I have just finished: Early Autumn, in which Spenser assumes responsibility for a fifteen year old kid, rejected by his parents, to help him grow into a man of his own.


  1. I really need to read this series! I loved his Sunny Randall series, but it's been years/decades since I've picked up a book by Spenser. This summer sounds just about right.

    1. I’ve forgotten about Sunny Randall! While Spenser has long been my favorite, I liked Sunny, too. I guess I like Parker’s writing, pure and simple, not only for the stories he tells but the characters he portrays.