Saturday, December 11, 2021

Atkins Splits Up with Spenser

January 18, 2022, will bring the release of Robert B. Parker’s Bye Bye Baby (Putnam), the 50th book starring Spenser, the wisecracking Boston private eye introduced in 1973’s The Godwulf Manuscript. It will also apparently mark the end of Ace Atkins’ responsibility for continuing that series since the death of its creator, Robert B. Parker, in 2010. Atkins broadcast the news on Twitter earlier today:
Yep, it’s true. I’m retiring as Spenser: For Hire after “Bye Bye Baby” is out next month. After ten books, it was high time to return to some major projects I want to tackle. I appreciate the support all these years. Raising a donut and beer to you all!
This announcement brought forth a deluge of compliments, with readers saying how much they’ve appreciated Atkins’ stewardship and reinvigoration of Parker’s series, which began with the 2012 publication of Robert B. Parker’s Lullaby. “Ace, I say this with the utmost sincerity,” wrote one. “You did RBP proud. You kept Spenser, Hawk, Susan, and Pearl alive for us. You did it with integrity and love for the characters, and it shows in every word you wrote.”

Amid all such applause, the 51-year-old Mississippi author made clear that, while he was happy for the opportunity to concoct 10 further Spenser adventures, he’s looking forward to again producing fictional yarns of his own unique devising (“the story queue is backed up for miles”). Atkins is developing more entries in his series about Mississippi sheriff Quinn Colson (The Heathens), and added, “I’m working on an amazing project now. More details soon. But another true crime novel.” As I recall, the last “true crime novel” he penned was 2010’s Infamous, which Wikipedia explains was “based on the 1933 Charles Urschel kidnapping and subsequent misadventures of the gangster couple George ‘Machine Gun’ and Kathryn Kelly.”

I don’t see word yet of who might take over the composing of Spenser novels. But considering the financial success of Parker’s series, it’s unlikely to go without a continuation writer for long.

FOLLOW-UP: Well, thanks goodness for Lee Goldberg, who—in a comment attached to this post—put me onto news about the future of not just one, but two Robert B. Parker protagonists. As Publishers Weekly reports, sportswriter and novelist Mike Lupica, who has already penned a couple of books featuring small-town police chief Jesse Stone, in addition to three headlined by gumshoe Sunny Randall, will “be taking over the Spenser series from Ace Atkins.” Meanwhile, the magazine says, author Alison Gaylin (The Collective) “will write a new installment in Parker’s Sunny Randall series; in doing so, she will become the first woman to take over a Parker series.”

1 comment:

Lee Goldberg said...

It was also announced that Mike Lupica is taking over Spenser (in addition to continung with Jesse Stone)... and Allison Gaylin will step in for him with the Sunny Randall novels.