Sunday, August 12, 2012

Bronson Parker — Journalist Turns to Crime Fiction

Recently, our fellow crime writer Robin Hathaway asked us to tell what books we read this summer. I'd like to share a writer new to me, Bronson L. Parker, a Tennessee native, now a resident of Hampton, Virginia.

Parker credits the late Bill Tapply for guiding him from years as a journalist to his new world of fiction.

I've missed Bill Tapply – but found a treasure in Parker's delightful novel, The Providence of Death.

A former award-winning jounalist, "Bo" Parker has that same warmth, charmingly simple depth, that Tapply's Brady Coyne filled our heads with for so many years. Excellent prose, couched in unassuming style.

I hope we'll have now many years of Joe McKibben, Parker's ex-detective, who grows upon the reader instantly, like the comforting sounds of Chesapeake Bay waves lapping against a sun-warmed sand.

The Providence of Death is set in an area personally dear to me, Hampton, Virginia, and the surrounding countryside in the Chesapeake Bay world, as well as the small village of Duck on North Carolina's Outer Banks.

Parker has that wonderful gift Bill Tapply had - he draws you into his local world of small towns and neighborhoods. You feel you've always known the people in his pages.

Sections of this novel touched a special depth in me. My father lived for many years, then died, at the V.A. Hospital in Hampton.

My mother spent over a half century in her house on the beach on Chesapeake Bay. Parker's following description could have been a chapter right out of that life!

"I … looked across Hampton Roads, the world's largest natural harbor, home to the world's largest naval installation. I watched a container ship in the main channel glide past the sterns of warships docked at the navy shipyard… an aircraft carrier traveling in on the channel from the Chesapeake Bay came into view…"

To you fellow devotees of William G. Tapply, if I did a blind reading of Bronson's book, I'd think I was reading one of Bill's books! Mid-Atlantic, not New England, ocean and bay, not mountain streams, Chesapeake Bay land, not Martha's Vineyard, but that same satisfying environment, interesting characters and marriage of humans, land and water.

When I finished one of Bill Tapply's books, I always felt " All's right with the world."

Bo Parker gives me that same good feeling!

P.S. I found this book by surfing in the crime writers blogosphere and look forward to the next two books of this gifted writer!

Thelma Straw

Please give us your comments - we love hearing from you!!!


  1. Hi, Bronson. I loved this book, as you know. It's one of those books that stays with you long after you read it -- my kind of book. Keep up the good work, and lots of luck with this series.
    Pat Browning

  2. We loved this book too and are looking forward to reading the next one too. My husband mentioned that if there is any flaw in this novel he did not find it. It was definitely as the saying goes "like you were there." Vivid.


  3. Well, Thelma, you have certainly got my interest going in these authors. I have not had the pleasure of reading either of these guys and I look forward to many hours of good reading!!! Thanks!!!

  4. Thank you, Thelma, for your wonderful words. Bill would be pleased to know that at least some of the seeds he planted in an old word cobbler's brain did take root and grow.