- Last Updated: 11:51 PM, July 7, 2012
- Posted: 10:40 PM, June 30, 2012
How do you succeed a legend? It helps that Ace Atkins, the new pen behind Robert B. Parker’s Spenser novels, discovered the wise-cracking Boston PI in college. “My father had died and I was finding my way, playing football and dealing with lunkheaded coaches. Spenser gave me a lot of good comebacks!” After Parker’s death two years ago, Atkins — a former crime reporter turned novelist — submitted 50 pages of Spenser-ian prose to Parker’s wife, Joan, their two sons and Parker’s agent, who unanimously decreed that Atkins would carry the torch. His “Robert B. Parker’s Lullaby” debuted in May, and it hits all the right notes. “I wanted to write the next book Bob would have written,” Atkins says. Here’s what’s in his library.
All the King’s Men
by Robert Penn Warren
I’m a former newspaper reporter, so this really resonated for me, It’s about the corruption of man, of politics. The main character, Jack Burden, is a reporter who ends up working for a politician. It’s one of the great American novels, which teaches you to have a healthy dose of skepticism about everything.
by Robert B. Parker
Most Spenser fans have it on the top of their list. It’s not really a crime novel. It’s more a coming-of-age book, like Hemingway’s Nick Adams stories. It’s about Spenser teaching a young man, Paul — a dancer, like Parker’s son — about morality, following his passion and doing what pleases him. It should be required reading for kids in high school and college.
The Hot Kid
by Elmore Leonard
I don’t think this book got a fair shake because there are so many Elmore Leonard books. I’ve read every one he’s written, and this novel — about how American myths are built — is almost Faulknerian in how he plays with the form so artfully. It’s funny and filled with great dialogue and great action.
Intruder in the Dust
by William Faulkner
People forget that William Faulkner was a great crime novelist. “Intruder” is a crime novel through and through. A young kid investigates when his uncle, the town’s attorney, takes the case of a wrongly accused black man. It was “To Kill a Mockingbird” before “Mockingbird,” and it’s a much better, more layered novel about racial issues in the South.Follow @NYPostOpinion