Just damn. Robert B. Parker has died, and I just found out about it. Last year we lost Michael Crichton.
I have said that three authors bear primary responsibility for my socio-political outlook: Robert A. Heinlein, John D. MacDonald, and Robert B. Parker. These three men wrote books about how men ought to behave - Heinlein in damned near everything, MacDonald with his Travis McGee series, and Parker with his Spenser books. I've enjoyed Parker's other works, but I've collected every one of the Spenser series so far (one more is due out this year), even the later ones of questionable quality. Like David and Jerry, I believe his best work was An Early Autumn, the one Spenser novel I got my wife to read, and she said she liked.
Damn, no more Spenser, no more Hawk, no more Belsen, Quirk, Sunny Randall, Jesse Stone.
Just damn. Another good storyteller gone.
UPDATE: In a related bit, Roberta X points, via Alger, to where SciFi author Sarah A. Hoyt waxes eloquent on Robert Anson Heinlein and his effect on her life. Ms. Hoyt is one of those who is an American because she thinks she's American:
...more important than his themes or his political inclinations, or his preoccupation of the moment was his determination that the human mind should be free...free to examine and discover. Free to know. Free to find the truth. Which is why I perceived him—first in rejection, and later in embrace—as the quintessential American writer. His values were—always—of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. The primacy of the individual over the state or the church or the coercive group. It could be argued that having been educated in Heinlein I had to become an American citizen. In fact, had become one, in all but name and law long before I landed on these shores.Welcome, Ms. Hoyt, and to all the others out there who are "willing to give up what you used to be in order to be one of us."