Sunday, January 24, 2010

For Spenser With An "S"

I can't remember when I first wondered into that bookstore and picked up my first copy, but if asked I could describe the worn out cover. The blue-green paper with white creases created by others who had traveled its pages before me. That copy of Taming A Seahorse I was holding would be my first introduction to my eventual favorite author Robert B. Parker. I was about to take a master class in how to write a detective novel. I had heard about the character of Spenser from his For Hire series. Robert Urich played him on TV and forever in my mind became the image and voice of the character. I read a couple. Then maybe one or two more. Searching the local library and bookstores for anything I could get my hands on from Parker. Then I discovered Early Autumn. To this day I am in awe whenever I see a copy tossed aside at a yard sale or flea market. The story is one involving a bitter divorce, an angry vengeful father, and of course Spenser making the touch choices the everyone refuses to take responsibility for. The father kidnaps the son, the mother hires Spenser to get him back, but nobody stops to consider what is best for the child not even the confused boy himself...that is until Spenser decides it's time to teach the boy about what it means to be a man.

With the help of his best friend Hawk, true love Susan, and Pearl his beloved dog, Spenser routinely set aside money, fame, love, and his own life to do what was right. Sometimes he did it for revenge, sometimes for honor, sometimes it was simply personal. Every case haunted him and every decision tore at his soul for years to come. This week Robert B. Parker left this world doing what he loved to do more than anything in his desk in the middle of writing the latest Spenser novel. In total Parker wrote over 75 books a good majority of which featured Spenser. While my life has changed several times over the past 30 years one thing has never changed, twice I year I go running to the book store desperate to get a copy of his latest novel. Something that will only happen a few more times as the last of his previously written books are released. I don't know if I have ever walked into a bookstore and not stopped to see which of his books they had. Though the man and his work have been put to rest, I know I'll never forget them. Thank you Mr. Parker. You taught me how to read.

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