commuterchroniclesdbh

Driving and Biking in the Big City

Tribute to a friend in the passenger seat

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Parker’s legacy continues after his death

Let me start with how glad I am that Michael Brandman is writing the new “Jesse Stone” novels after the death of all-time favorite Robert B. Parker, who most is known for creating the “Spenser for Hire” detective series that became a successful television show. Some of the Jesse Stone novels have been made into television shows, too, and Brandman was a collaborator while Parker was alive.

Parker has been missed since 2010 when he died at his desk while writing. He had written 70 novels in his 77 years on earth, a superhero statistic for a writer like me. I’ve read or listened to every one of them – some of them two and three times from back in the days of cassette and then CDs of audible books and when audibles were so hard to come by.

My commuting time is frequently my reading time now that audible downloads are so available. This gives me two hours of reading every day, allowing me to keep up with best sellers and favorites. And, when I get in bed with a book these days and fall asleep in the first 10 minutes, I don’t have to worry that I’m getting behind on my reading.

However, with the recent spate of vampire novels, knockoffs and other otherworldly creations, I’m having a hard time replacing my longtime crime novel favorites, especially with anything of substance. And yes, I’ve tried both “Hunger Games” and “50 Shades of Grey” and was entertained enough for the first one but didn’t quite feel like picking up the second or third. For my 10 hours and more of commuting, I need a bit of substance or Vinny will wander into the next lane and my road rage will take over.

When Parker died, I was reminded of the passing in 2005 of Ed McBain and was worried about the gap in entertainment that would be caused by another prolific and favorite writer’s passing. McBain is credited with some of the first police procedurals and introduced readers to the inner workings of cop life in big cities like New York. He was best known for his screenwriting that included most famously “The Birds.” I liked his “87thPrecinct” novels. There were 54 of them, and I read or listened to most. Others, I simply couldn’t find by the time I’d discovered him.

Ed McBain wrote “The Birds”

Both men have left a not easily filled gap in my reading. It takes me several tries to find new writers with new stories to hold my attention. Then, the new writers only complete a book a year if I’m lucky. And, I’m one to go through sometimes two books a week.

As I come to the conclusion of “Fool Me Twice,” I’m entertained enough to pick up the next one, but I also think it skirts the magic of Parker. I once had a fellow reader of kindred taste say this about Parker:

“I know there’s a lot of fluff and fun in Parker, but in every book there’s this one sentence that makes you pause. You read it and reread it and say to yourself ‘how true.’ That’s why I keep reading him. He always has one thing that makes me really think.”

I didn’t find that “one thing” in the new “Jesse Stone,” but I will look for it in the next.

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Written by commuterchroniclesdbh

October 13, 2012 at 8:29 am

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