Robert B. Parker needs no introduction, but he did need a companion.
Parker is considered one of the most successful contemporary mystery writers, having
written his Spenser series for over thirty years, adding in two more series along the
way and throwing in a handful of stand alone novels. Dean James and Elizabeth Foxwell
have compiled everything there is to know about his work in The Robert B. Parker Companion
- The Complete Guide to His Novels from Spenser to Sunny Randall-Plot Summaries, Cast
of Characters, Boston Locations and More, a straightforward, completely thorough
compilation of Parker's work.
The book begins with a short interview with Parker and simple plot summaries of all
of his novels. The summaries easily could've been bogged down with interpretation and
opinion, but James and Foxwell - mystery writers themselves - took the smart and efficient
route by just detailing what happens in each book.
The bulk of the book is made up of an index of the cast of characters Parker has created
over the years in all of his works. Beginning with Angie Aarons (Stone Cold -
next door neighbor of murder victim Kenneth Eisley, who tells Stone what she knows about
her neighbor) and ending with Melvin Zeecond (A Savage Place - Hollywood agent
and former lover of Candy Sloan who has the goods on Summit Studios), the long list of
Parker's creations is like a walk down memory lane, visiting friends (and enemies)
Parker fans have enjoyed over the years.
James and Foxwell also put together a chapter on the Boston locations Parker has used
over the years, as well as a chapter of selected quotes from his work. The chapter of
quotes felt a little short, considering Parker is considered one of the best dialogue
writers in the business, but the quotes chosen are excellent ones and demonstrate Parker's
dexterity with language.
The Robert B. Parker Companion is a must-have for every Parker fan's collection.