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Robert B. Parker's résumé is familiar to most of his readers. Born
and raised in Massachusetts, graduated from Colby College in Maine,
married Joan Hall, had two sons, earned his Ph.D. at Boston University,
taught at Northeastern University, and wrote nearly seventy books.
There are other factoids about him that are less well known.
Bob's talent for rhythm was first put to work when the U.S. Army sent
him to Korea as a Morse code radio operator. He always wanted to be a
writer, but he needed a steady income to support his young wife and,
later, his sons. Bob was hired as a technical writer first for Raytheon
and then for Curtiss-Wright, which soon laid him off. He next worked as
editor of a magazine for Prudential insurance agents and freelanced as a
partner in Parker/Farman, the "world's smallest advertising agency."
Unable to take any more of corporate America, and with no
interest in advertising, Bob returned to school. The plan was to earn a
doctorate, get a job teaching, and have the time to start writing
seriously. While going to school, he held down as many as five college
teaching jobs at once, often took care of his sons, and did odd jobs for
a consulting company. Fortunately for the family, Joan had a job in
education that paid well.
The plan worked, and as a teacher at Northeastern University, Bob
found the time to write. He was one of four authors of an anthology
The Personal Response to Literature, published in 1971. Two years later, the first Spenser novel, The Godwulf Manuscript, appeared.
Bob was renowned for his Spenser novels, featuring the
wise-cracking, street-smart Boston private-eye, which earned him a
devoted following and reams of critical acclaim. He also launched two
other bestselling series featuring, respectively, Massachusetts police
chief Jesse Stone and Boston private detective Sunny Randall. In
addition, he authored four Westerns. Bob's bestselling Western novel
was made into a major motion picture by New Line, starred Ed Harris and
Viggo Mortensen, and was a box office hit in 2008. Long acknowledged as
the dean of American crime fiction, he was named Grand Master of the
Edgar Awards in 2002 by the Mystery Writers of America, an honor shared
with earlier masters such as Alfred Hitchcock and Ellery Queen.