With the passing of Robert B. Parker last week, the community of his fans grieved. I count myself as a member of that community. His Spenser, Jesse Stone, and Sonny Randall novels entertained us for over 50 years. I’m sad when I realize that, if I don’t discover some more of Robert B. Parker’s titles, I have only 16 more to go until I have no more new ones to read.
Should I read them all this year or savor them over several years?
I love to read anything by Robert B. Parker. His characters are so vivid, complex, and compelling that I just want to keep on reading even when the book is done. Spenser, a hardboiled but sensitive Boston PI, was one of my favorite characters of all time. But I’m beginning to love Jesse Stone, an alcoholic police chief of Paradise, Mass. As adept he is at understanding the crime solving process, he is inept at understanding his relationship with his ex-wive, Jenn.
But why I enjoy reading Parker is his mastery of dialog. Here are some examples from High Profile, his latest book. These are conversations between Chief Jesse Stone and one of his policemen, Suitcase Simpson.
After an interview with Conrad Lutz, who would later become a suspect in a multiple homicide:
“It means Lutz lied to us,” he said.
“Or at least left stuff out,” Jesse said.
“We maybe should ask him about that?” Suit said.
“Sooner or later,” Jesse said.
“First, you want to get all your ducks in a row?”
“I’d settle for getting them herded into the same area,” Jesse said. Read more