Some impressive writing from Robert B. Parker

One thing I’ve been meaning to do for a while is post some impressive writing that I come across. You know, the kind that makes you go, wo-ah, and yank out an ink pen and start underlining.

These posts on great writing will come in no particular order, and just because this is first, doesn’t mean I’m saying it’s the best. But, a man’s got to start somewhere and I have no idea what the best passage I’ve ever read is anyway…

Anyway, here’s one from a couple of weeks ago that I had meant to post when I read it. It’s from Robert B. Parker’s book “Night Passage.” This scene is of the main character, Jesse Stone, driving across the country to his new job, following his divorce. Thus, he’s nostalgic and thinking too much as he leaves California and heads east.

“It was impossible to drive across the country without imagining Indians and cavalry and wagon trains and mountain men, and Wells Fargo and the Union Pacific. Deerskin trousers and coats made of buffalo hide and long rifles and traps and whiskey and Indians. Bowie knives. Beaver traps. Buffalo as far as you could look. White-faced cattle. Chuck wagons. Six-guns with smooth handles. Horse and man seemingly like one animal as they moved across the landscape. Hats and kerchiefs and Winchester rifles and the creak of saddles and the smell of bacon and coffee.”

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

P.S. If you enjoy fast-paced books, you just might like my works. “Sold Out” tracks the life of a legendary Marine Sniper after a CIA unit decides to kill him for reasons of national security. “Little Man, and the Dixon County War” tells the uphill fight a young deputy faces after surviving three years of war only to find himself in the sights of a mighty cattle baron. And “Soldier On,” a short novel, follows the lives of several German soldiers in a depleted infantry company trying to make it through the final, miserable months of World War II.

8 thoughts on “Some impressive writing from Robert B. Parker

  1. He needed wordage, maybe. You’ve got to look at some of Mike Avallone’s someday. “The footsteps walked up to the door and knocked.”Mike could knock out a 60,000 word novel in a couple days, then spend a month on rewrites (LOL). He hated editors. Gads, I’m hiding all my books before you find them, Stan (ha).


    1. Too funny, Tom!

      And you know, I wouldn’t want incredible writing like this throughout a book. That would be too much like literature. But when you’re reading a great action book and come across something like this? Wow. It’s one of the best feelings in the world.


  2. I think he writes a little like myself, except, he like all good authors have
    characters, and I do not, I just have subjects. And so here is something
    kind of on the same order.
    My name is Eagle Globe and Anchor, sometimes known as the E.G.A. I am
    found in every state, city ,town or village in the country. I am found on some ring fingers and engraved on forearms in ink, I can be found on the front doors of homes and on the front yard flag poles just under the Stars and Stripes. I appear on cars and trucks, in back windows and bumpers,
    trunk lids and tailgates, front grills and Lic.plates. I am found on book covers and posters, pictures and plaques hanging on walls. My likeness is found on necklaces and key chains tee shirts and jackets, hats, belt buckles and coats. You will find me in lesser known places that Marines know and others don’t. Like the base of the flag pole at the Vietnam Memorial Wall, were I shine, because Marines from 8th and I polish me everyday, a new tradition is born. You will also find me on head stones spread across this land. But the place I shine brightest can not be seen, for it is in the hearts of everyman and woman who are known, as Marines.

    And so you see he writes big, and I write small. No characters here just


    1. Hey Bruce,

      Thanks for the comment. I had never considered the difference between characters and subjects, but your comment helped open my eyes to some other things I’ve read in the past.

      And love the EGA piece. Of course, I’m heavily biased by the subject mattter, but that was some beautiful writing!



      1. Stan, some say you can’t have a story without any characters. Their are
        many places that try to show you how to develop a character, I’m just
        not into characters that much. Their was an author by the name of
        (Robert Fulghum) who wrote All I Really Need to Know I Learned in
        Kindergarten. He really didn’t have characters in his books. Well, what
        do I know, I never wrote a book, and probably never will. I just like to
        write a little.


        1. Bruce, my memory is failing me, but I believe it was Robert Heinlein who wrote a short story for a magazine about a futuristic house that was completely automated to cook and clean for the family of the house. We never see the family, only the house doing all it’s chores, picking up after the children, cleaning dishes after the family has eaten, etc. Then there is a nuclear war, and everyone is killed, but the house continues doing it’s everyday chores, sweeping, dusting, etc. The story was turned into a radio drama in the 1950s that was very powerful. No actors, just the narrator telling about the house. So yes, a good writer can tell a story with absolutely no people in it. Wish I could remember the title of that story (sigh), I would like to read it again.


  3. I like the “the creak of saddles and the smell of bacon and coffee.” How he brings in the sound and smell element, and I just like the way the words sound, especially “the creak of saddles” for some reason.


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