During August, Parsons Public Library will pay homage to the late Robert B. Parker, internationally revered author of over popular 70 novels, in a “Parker Fest,” a four-week series of book discussions, movies, and a contest drawing.
The first book discussion, scheduled for Thursday, August 6, at 2:00, is on Appaloosa, the first title in Parker’s Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch series set in the Old West. The novel follows Cole and Hitch, two itinerant lawmen, as they first arrive in Appaloosa, a small, dusty town suffering at the hands of a corrupt rancher. Classic western elements include the villain’s arrest, his breakout by hired guns, a long chase through Indian Territory, an OK Corral-style shootout, romance with a piano-playing beauty of dubious character, and a final showdown. Superimposed on these familiar elements are Parker’s signature development of depth of character, his typical clean writing style, and his trademark theme of a personal code of honor.
Copies of the book are available now for check-out.
On Friday, August, 7, at 2:00, the library will show the movie Appaloosa, based on the book and starring Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen.
The second book discussion, scheduled for Thursday, August 20, at 2:00, will be on Sixkill, Parker’s final Spenser novel published after the author’s death in 2010. The Spenser series features a Boston private eye who is a smart-mouthed tough guy with a heart of gold. He also lifts weights, is quite well educated, is a gourmet cook, and lives by a code of honor. Spenser has been hailed as “one of the most popular literary heroes of our time,” according to editor Otto Penzler. The Spenser character inspired the 1980’s television series Spenser: for Hire and a number of television films.
The library will show episodes from Spenser: For Hire, starring Robert Urich, on three Friday afternoons: August 14, 21, and 28. All movies begin at 2:00.
Robert Parker was born in 1932, earned a Ph.D. from Boston University, and started writing while teaching at Boston’s Northeastern University. The first Spenser novel was published in 1973 and the 40th one was published in 2011. In addition to the Spenser series and the Cole and Hitch series, Parker also created the Jesse Stone series, based on a detective turned police chief of a small town, and the Sunny Randall series featuring a female detective. The Jesse Stone novels were adapted into eight television films starring Tom Selleck. Long acknowledged as the dean of American crime fiction, Parker 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.
Discussion leader for both book discussions will be Paul Milks, local Parker fan. Mr. Milks enjoys the Spenser character for being “a wise-cracking, street-wise, Robin Hood-like character who lives by his own moral code of honor and justice.” Milks also admires Parker’s terse writing style which allows “the action to speak louder than the words.” Mr. Milks is a life-long Parsons resident and holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in biology from Emporia State University. He is retired and is an avid photographer, outdoorsman, and naturalist.
Library patrons who read at least three Parker novels or audiobooks during August will be eligible for a drawing for a yet-to-be-released copy of a new Jesse Stone novel. Patrons may enter the contest as many times as they want. Entry forms are available at the library.
The library has copies of most of Parker’s many books, with several in audiobook format as well as print. The library also has the Jesse Stone movies available for checkout. Readers are encouraged to start reading as many Parker novels as they can and bring their insights and opinions to the discussions.
Members of the community are invited to attend the free programs, which will take place at the library, 311 South 17th St. To check out books and for more information about the series, contact the library at 620-421-5920.