Publication Order of Spenser Books
Spenser, whose first name has never been officially revealed, is the name of a fictional character in a series of detective novels initially by the American mystery writer Robert B. Parker and later by Ace Atkins. He also featured in the television series called Spenser, and also in several movies based on these novels. The character made his first appearance in 1973 in a book titled “The Godwulf Manuscript” and is presently being written by Ace Atkins. Spenser is a male character that plays the part of a private detective. Susan Silverman is his significant other and they have an adopted son called Paul Giacomin who makes his first appearance in a book called “Early Autumn”.
Spenser also has relatives, including Sam Spenser who is his father and a maternal uncle called Patrick who is first revealed in a book called “Chasing the Bear”. Spenser is American and Laramie, Wyoming is where he was born. He is a private investigator who plies his trade in Boston, and he’s a tough guy who also has a smart mouth but is kindhearted. He used to be a boxer, and he is quick to remind anyone who would care to listen that at one time he fought a former boxing heavyweight champion called Jersey Joe Walcott. To stay in good shape, Spenser lifts weights and he is a well educated chap who loves to cook.
It appears that Robert B. Parker molded the Spenser character from his own life. For starters, both are Bostonians and they both had a stint in Korea while serving in the US army. Spenser was an infantryman with the First Infantry Division at the height of the Korean War. However, unlike Robert B. Parker, who’s his creator, Spenser never grows old. From the moment we were introduced to him in 1973, he has remained 37 years old.
Spenser has a close friend called Hawk, who also plays a major role in the book series. He is an African American and he is just as touch as Spenser although he can be a bit shady sometimes. Hawk is a gun for hire and has a personal code that he lives by. The former Boston Arena is where Spenser met Hawk, and they were boxing opponents during a preliminary fight. The arena has since been renamed the Mathews Arena. Spenser and his friend Hawk have mutual respect for one another, and each man understands the other’s personal philosophy.
Like it has been mentioned, The Godwulf Manuscript is the first book in the Spenser series of novels. In this story, Spenser is hired by a university in Boston to help them in recovering rare manuscript that has been stolen. Spenser earned his degree in the school of hard knocks and so he’s ready to swing into action. Spenser is not surprised to find his only clue being the radical student called Denis Powell who has been fatally shot four times in the chest. The murdered radical student used to be a drug dealer.
The police are now ready to charge a beautiful blond coed called Terry who had left her fingerprints on the gun used to shoot Denis, who happened to be her boyfriend. However, Spenser knows from past experience that everything is not what it seems. In the course of his investigation, he has to tackle some tough assignments, and he knows that should he fail to finish his homework in good time, he might end up with a grade “D”, which stands for dead.
What is likeable in the Spenser character is the fact that he can give as good as he gets. He is also quite the ladies man, and he is always making wisecracks at every opportunity he gets. I guess maybe that was the reason why he was fired from the police force. His insubordination didn’t help matters but after getting fired, he is back on his feet as a private investigator. One good thing about The Godwulf Manuscript is how the author describes the scenes, provides good dialogue and a logical plot. Very few words are required for the readers to know where they are and the characters in a particular scene.
The second book in the Spenser series is called “God Save the Child”. In this story, we find Spenser trying to uncover the mystery of a teenager’s disappearance. Appie Knoll is the kind of suburb where kids grow up right but something goes wrong when 14-year old Kevin Bartlett disappears. Initially, everyone thinks that he has run away, until a ransom note written in the form of a comic strip arrives. When Spenser begins to investigate the case, he immediately starts getting the bigger picture. On the one hand we have a rich family burning with rage, and a desperate kid making weird friends.
One of these friends is a body builder called Vic Harroway and he is Spenser’s single lead. However, he’s not talking except when he is using his fists. The good thing is that when it comes down to it, and a kid’s life is in danger, Spenser can also speak the language of fists. One notable feature of God Save the Child is that the author introduces Susan Silverman, a woman who’s going to become Spenser’s longtime girlfriend. The chemistry between the pair is what will later spice up the rest of the books in the series, and the Spenser character gets more depth.
God Save the Child centers on the life of missing teenager with a messy family life. We have a mother who is a selfish drunkard while the father is weak. Even though the novel was written in 1974, it still managed to tackle homosexuality because the main suspect was a homosexual called Vic. Even the tough guy Spenser finds himself going to a gay club to look for clues and gay men hit on him. There is also a recurring theme in the novel in which you find Spenser disliking the people who hire him to solve crimes for them. All in all, the Spenser series of books make worthy reading and if the first two books are any indication, readers are in for a treat.Book Series In Order » Characters » Spenser