I’m coming up to the end of the back catalogue of Robert B Parker novels. The guy turned out nearly 70 novels, but sadly passed away in 2010 which means I’ve had chance to catch up (I’d say 1/3 of the fiction books I’ve read over the past 5 years have been by him). Whilst he isn’t responsible for my favourite ever novel (DK’s FfA), he is most definitely my favourite author. His estate has had a number of guns for hire try and continue the series, but they’ve not hit the mark in my eyes.
Which brings me to the question of… where do I go next? Whilst I’m highly tempted to say ‘piffle to the new’ and just start re-reading them again (and I’m sure I will at some point), I probably should try and find something to fill the dry witted void that his Spenser, Stone, Randall, and Cole & Hitch used to occupy.
I’m in the middle of my annual re-read, but got distracted by new holiday books. Thanks for reminding me that I got The Boxer and the Spy for Christmas and still need to read it…I have almost EVERYTHING he wrote (although I haven’t bothered to even read the written-after-he-died-damn-you-Tom-Clancy-for-promoting-this-model sequels).
I haven’t found anyone else who hits quite that same niche. You can never go wrong with Elmore Leonard – he’s got some of the same flare for snappy dialog and quick, fast paced storytelling, but the themes are very different and most of his books are standalone, not series. I have pretty eclectic tastes anyway.
If you haven’t read Andy Weir’s “The Martian” yet, you might try that – while it’s sf and he’s more wordy than RBP, there is still some of that same essence there. His latest book “Artemis” is also a good read – the protagonist is a petty criminal on the Moon base who gets caught up in something far bigger than she’s ready for.
In the realm of something COMPLETELY different, have you checked out the Jan Karon “Mitford” novels? They’re about an older Episcopal priest in a small Southern town. In some ways, they remind me of the James Herriot books, only with a priest instead of a vet, and fiction instead of memoirs. Definitely a different kind of read, but depending on your tastes, perhaps a fulfilling one.
In fantasy, have you tried the Steven Brust “Taltos” series? The main viewpoint is a human assassin in a faerie empire. He has issues to work through. The storytelling is usually top-notch, Vald as a POV character is a wise-cracking tough guy that has more than once reminded me of Spenser, and the recurring cast of characters are easy to care about.
Finally, the one weird series I’m pitching to folks – the Charlie Stross “Laundry Files” series is an amazing read that starts off great and moves on from there. Magic is real and these guys are the ones who keep the public from knowing about it.
Yes, I enjoyed The Martian and Artemis.
if it,s a direct replacement you,re after, and you,re not happy with the estate-authorised continuations, you can look to some of parker,s own influences.
raymond chandler is a good place to start. he only wrote 6/7 novels, but parker himself wrote two additional books with chandler,s philip marlowe character.
from there, you might look to hammett and macdonald to see if they fluff your fur, but i,d start with chandler.