Born and raised in Massachusetts, Parker attended Colby College in Maine, serves with the Army in Korea, and then completed a Ph.D. in English at Boston University. He married his wife Joan in 1956; they raised two sons, David and Daniel. Parker began writing his Spenser novels in 1971 while teaching at Bostonís Northeastern University.
Together the Parkers founded Pearl Productions, a Boston-based independent film company named after their short-haired pointer, Pearl, who has also been featured in Parkerís last few novels. He and Joan now live in the Boston area
He is best known for his series of 'Spenser' detective novels.