Each season we announce our new titles individually, each in their own post, to give you a little extra background behind the book. If you’ve missed any, you can check them all out here. Spring 2012”²s intro posts are here.
One of our upcoming titles is not entirely like the others. I mean, vampires, girls on fire, Mad Men, zombies, Starks–all of that seems pretty squarely up Smart Pop’s alley. Private detective Spenser? Not our usual fare.
I have to admit: I came in to this project not knowing anything about Spenser. When our publisher, Glenn (a huge Spenser fan), brought up the idea, I had only a vague sense of who Robert B. Parker was, much less of the series for which he’s best known–the series that’s sometimes credited as saving the PI genre.
So Glenn sent me a few books. And it was impossible not to get a little hooked.
Spenser is an appealing tough guy, with a quiet security in his own abilities and a healthy appreciation for others’. He has a charmingly quick, dry sense of humor and a strong sense of honor, plus a taste for gourmet cooking and an easy, nonchalant feminism ahead of his time. Add to that Parker’s singular writing voice and his smart, creative grasp on genre, and it’s easy to see why Spenser has made such an impact on so many readers–and on so many of Parker’s fellow writers.
We were lucky enough to talk Otto Penzler, proprietor of The Mysterious Bookshop in NYC, all-around great mystery editor, and longtime associate of Parker’s, into putting this book together for us. And he pulled together a fantastic list of writers to pay tribute to both Spenser and Parker, including:
- Ace Atkins, the writer taking over the Spenser series (his first Spenser title, Robert B. Parker’s Lullaby, comes out just a week after In Pursuit of Spenser!)
- Genre heavy-hitters like Lawrence Block and Dennis Lehane
- A whole list of other great mystery authors, all of whom were influenced by Parker personally or professionally
Two other people we should mention:
- Michael Fusco, the man responsible for designing our distinctive, eye-catching cover
- Joan Parker, who provided the lovely blurb you’ll see on the book’s cover and at the top of our book page
Excerpts from the essays are up on our book page. And as always, we’re offering a download of two free chapters if you sign up for our In Pursuit of Spenser email list (as well as, of course, a reminder on the pub date); you can sign up (or get pre-order links) on our book page, or by using the form below.
If you’re a Spenser fan, I know you’ll enjoy the heck out of this one. And if you aren’t–well, we recommend you pick up a few of Parker’s books, then come back and see us afterward. :)