I'm In Love With Robert B. Parker
There. I've said it. I'm in love with Robert B. Parker and I don't care who knows it. You can keep Brad Pitt and George Clooney. If I'm ever going to run away and make a fool of myself over some man who isn't my husband, it's going to be the aforementioned brilliant author of the Spenser and Jesse Stone and Sunny Randall series of books, among others.
I can't think of another author who can grab my attention with the first line and hold it straight through to the last. Parker is instantly readable. He captures you immediately and doesn't let go until the story's been told.
If you've ever tried to write a book of your own, you'll understand what a gift that is. Elmore Leonard said the secret of his own success was the fact that he "skipped the parts people don't read" when he wrote his books. It seems to me Parker follows a similar format, although quite frankly I can't imagine RBP is capable of writing words I don't want to read.
I love the guy, okay? I can't help it. In my youth it was Paul McCartney. In my non-youth, it's Robert B. Parker. If they made Spenser bubblegum cards, I'd have the full collection. I'd wear a Hawk t-shirt and buy Susan Silverman vitamins.
What brought about this attack of fan-girlitis is the fact that I just finished his latest Spenser novel Now and Then and it's Parker at the top of his game. This is slightly more melancholy than the usual Spenser, more deeply romantic (in a very adult way), a game played with stakes set higher than this devoted reader was comfortable with. There's something thrilling about watching an artist perform at the top of his game, something exciting. This is Parker at his best and that's saying a lot.
I know how books get written. I know that even the most gifted writer, the most successful, still has to face the empty screen each day and hope the words will come. I know there are no shortcuts, no magic spells or potions, no secrets beyond showing up.
But when I read someone like Robert B. Parker (who makes it all look so damn easy) I have to wonder . . .