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Early Autumn by Robert B. Parker
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Early Autumn (1981)

by Robert B. Parker (Author)

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8401310,727 (3.92)39

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Among Parker's "Spenser" novels, Early Autumn is an unexpected treat. This is not a book about crime detection, but rather Spenser’s rescue of a boy who is ill- treated by his wealthy parents. Socialite Patty Giacomin hires Spenser to protect her son Paul from being kidnapped by her estranged husband. Paul not only is unwanted by both parents (who are using him as a pawn in their quarrel), but is entirely lacking on social skills, ambition, and interests. Spenser takes him in, teaches him to exercise, to lift weights, and how to box, and ultimately, works with him to build a house. Spenser is tough but treats him with respect and dignity. Paul gains confidence and self-respect and is ready to live on his own by the book’s end.

I found the story touching, with real sensitivity. It showed a side of Spenser we didn’t know existed. Spenser’s lady friend Susan Silverman also shows a new side, though not a pleasant one – she turns out to be selfish and lacking in understanding. While this is an unusual sort of Spenser novel, I liked it and can see why many Amazon readers rate it very highly. ( )
1 vote danielx | Mar 20, 2015 |
The very first Spenser I read, my favorite, and I think his absolute best. It goes off in such a personal direction, I really wasn't expecting that in a detective novel. Also note: First time I wanted to smack Susan. ( )
  unclebob53703 | Jan 31, 2015 |
Less about solving a mystery or getting the bad guys and much more about who Spenser is, as he tries to help a teenage boy with perfectly dreadful parents. Well done and compelling. The geography of the Mass Ave bridge seemed very wrong, perhaps one of the few times Boston didn't seem quite like home.
  amyem58 | Jul 15, 2014 |
I've read quite a few books in the Spenser series, but this was the last one I read and my notes state: "corny, macho drivel." So my guess is that this particular book in the series just didn't do it for me. ( )
  hayduke | Apr 3, 2013 |
4 of 5 stars
status: Read in May, 2011

Reading this story was like visiting old friends. I've read ten of Parker's books and have come to love and able to anticipate the approach and actions of Spencer and his alter ego, Hawk. Now that Parker is gone, I'm searching through his collection and trying to pick up those I've missed. This particular story again shows Spencer's soft heart as he collects a fifteen year old boy who is lost in an emotional game where his parents use him as a token to inflect pain on each other. Spencer takes the actions necessary to allow this displaced youngster to grow and mature to the point where he is able to thrive in an environment that Spenser and Hawk create to compensate for his parents lack of love. Of course there is action and Spenser and Hawk have to push up against the mob and they both are great examples for youth to emulate. It is nice to see the soft side of Parker and his model of how a boy should be raised. Heart warming story. ( )
  JosephLYoung | Jun 1, 2011 |
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Dedication
For David Parker and Daniel Parker, with the respect and admiration of their father, who grew up with them.
First words
The urban renewers had struck again.
Quotations
 "When all your options are lousy," I said, "you try to choose the least lousy." [p. 28]
"... Too much positive is either scared or stupid or both. Reality is uncertain. Lot of people need certainty. ... They spend their lives trying to be what they're supposed to be and being scared they aren't. Quiet desperation." [pp. 139-140]
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0440122147, Mass Market Paperback)

A bitter divorce is only the beginning. First the father hires thugs to kidnap his son. Then the mother hires Spenser to get the boy back. But as soon as Spenser senses the lay of the land, he decides to do some kidnapping of his own.

With a contract out on his life, he heads for the Maine woods, determined to give a puny 15 year old a crash course in survival and to beat his dangerous opponents at their own brutal game.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:42:30 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A bitter divorce is only the beginning. First the father hires thugs to kidnap his son. Then the mother hires Spenser to get the boy back.

» see all 2 descriptions

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