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A Catskill Eagle (Spenser #12)

4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  5,054 Ratings  ·  204 Reviews
In the detective business, Spenser sometimes has to bend the law. Other times, to break it. But he lives by his own inviolate rules. And he loves just one woman -- even though she is the one woman he's just lost.

So when Susan's desperate letter arrives, Spenser doesn't think twice. His best friend, Hawk, faces a life sentence. And Susan has gotten herself into even bigger

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Published January 1st 1990 by Books on Tape, Inc. (first published 1985)
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Bill  Kerwin

For years I believed it was here, at #12 in the series—almost one-third of the way through Parker’s Spenser books—that the rot began to set in. Reading it again now, thirty years later, I find A Catskill Eagle to be an entertaining narrative filled with surprises and ending in a satisfying conclusion.

Still, I haven’t changed my mind about the rot. This review is my attempt to say why.

Parker’s never excelled in constructing puzzles, which was always okay with me, since those Clue/ Agatha Christi
In the previous book in the series, Valediction, Susan had left Spenser to take a job in San Francisco, partially because she said that she needed some time alone because she’d always defined herself as someone’s daughter, wife, girlfriend, etc. and Spenser’s idealization of her had become overwhelming. That explanation might have held more water if she also didn’t admit that she’d been cheating on him for some time before she left and is still seeing the guy. But Spenser has committed himself t ...more
Jul 10, 2012 Aaron rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

The 70's Spencer novels are wonderful. The first 7 or 8 books in the series are among the best detective novels I have read. Something happens to this series in the mid 80's though and in comes to a finale here in this terrible 80's action movie posing as a Spenser novel. The entire storyline is beyond belief. First, we are expected to feel sorry for Susan Silverman after she spends 3 books in a row acting like a selfish child. Then we are supposed to believe Spenser and Hawk would go to all th
May 12, 2017 William rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(The word "maroon" appears 4 times in this novel)

The single most important book of Parker's life. The end of his marriage, in many ways. Very sad, very poignant if you know of the collapse of Parker's marriage around the time this book (and the previous two) was written.

As I noted previously:
Parker and his wife, Joan, separated at one point but then came to an unusual arrangement. They lived in a three-story Victorian house just outside of Harvard Square; she lived on one floor and he on another
Jane Stewart
3 stars. This had more action than most of his books, and it was good action. I enjoyed it. Although, it did not have as much humor and wit as the early books.

The major flaw for me was Susan’s motivations and actions described in Spoiler below. In the previous book (#11), she left Spenser to “find herself” - my words. She dates Russell Costigan, a married man. Russell’s father is one of the richest men in the world, dealing in guns and mercenary armies. Even though I didn’t like the spoiler iss
Dec 25, 2015 Jerry rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This 12th in Parker’s original 39-book Spenser set is flawed by the entire premise that Spenser and Hawk would go out to San Francisco to rescue Susan from her “boyfriend” Russell Costigan, despite avowing her “love” for our hero. Hawk goes out first and gets setup by thugs, killing one in the process; and thus is promptly jailed. When Spenser gets a short note from Susan saying she and Hawk need help, out he goes and successfully jailbreaks Hawk. Thereafter, the two friends maim and kill all ma ...more
Daniel Cooke
Holy crap. Am I the only one who wished Susan died a slow and agonizing death in this book? Spenser and Hawk were just barely worth the suffering.

I wish someone could explain how Susan could justify loving Spenser, the very embodiment of a morally driven person who tries to do the right thing and also Russell, the shallow, dirtbag, cheating on his wife, son of one of the biggest sleazeballs on Earth. Susan is clearly playing Grace, Russel's mother, in that relationship and Grace is "the worm in
Gloria Bernal
May 02, 2017 Gloria Bernal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an older Spenser novel, #12, actually, 1985, even before cell phones were so prevalent. It seems odd to read about them looking for a phone booth to make a call, but we all did it.

Spenser's lady-love, the shrink Susan, has taken up with another man, which seems so out of character for her. Apparently it happened during a falling out with Spenser and the guy she's with is of questionable character. She wants to leave him to think about her situation. She is in love with two men. Spenser
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 04, 2010 Jacqui rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller-mystery
It doesn't matter which Spenser novel you read--I suggest you start with the first one, Godwulf Manuscript. They all draw you into the fascinating, quick-moving world of Spenser, the PI. They're all short, easily read in a few days (in no small part because you won't want to stop). The early books introduce we the reader to the world of Spenser the PI, where he makes the rules, is honest and caring, but razer-edge sharp, where he was kicked out of the police force because he didn't take directio ...more
Sep 12, 2009 Larry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Spenser and Hawk go to a lot of trouble to retrieve Susan from her unfortunate relationship with the spoiled son of a major gunrunner who is more or less holding her against her will, confused as it is. The novel is at the end of the four-novel sequence in which Susan comes to terms with her dependence on males and proves it by being dependent on two men at the same time. Spenser suffers the tortures of the damned during the process and shows it by hurting and killing a lot of people who obstruc ...more
Brent Soderstrum
This is the 12th book from Parker's Spenser series.

This one goes through a patterned plot-Spenser and Hawk go to various places to rescue Susan Silverman from her boyfriend, Russell Costigan and his family; break into the place; kill some people; realize Susan isn't there and move on to the next place. I feel like Parker could have kept doing this till he had written enough pages to end the book by Spenser rescuing Susan.

In the previous book, Susan had moved to San Francisco for a new job and st
Mar 25, 2009 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
re-read it 2013 August. I liked it more the first time but still enjoyed it 4 years later.

5 stars just for audacity!!
just started it. Wonderfull Melville quote: "And there is a Catskill eagle in some souls that can alike dive down into the blackest gorges, and soar out of them again and become invisible in the sunny spaces. and even if he forever flies within the gorge, that gorge is in the mountains; so that even in his lowest swoop the mountain eagle is still higher than the other bir
Dec 20, 2011 Harold rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is Robert Parker's masterpiece. It is easily the best of all the Spenser novels (and many of them are very, very good).
The characters are nuanced, there are many shades of grey, yet Parker's wonderful wit is still there.
This is the Spenser novel that should have been made into a feature film.....
Sep 19, 2016 Clyde rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read A Catskill Eagle when it was first published back in the 1980s. It was good then; it is still good now. Actually, it doesn't seem very dated. With some minor adjustments (map in the internet and cell phones at appropriate places) this could be a present day story.
Reviews of this book are quite mixed. I think it is one of the better Spenser and Hawk stories.
May 03, 2015 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the book where Hawk and Spenser save Susan. I know a lot of the later books are based on things that happened here, but I really can't remember reading this one. It was not my favorite, but a good book anyway. A lot of exchanges between Spenser and Hawk and that's always good!
Ron Hefner
As a long time fan of the Spenser books, the ones that cover Susan and Spenser's separation are the worst, in my opinion. It's just too hard to believe that a tough, autonomous guy like Spenser can be reduced to adolescent blubbering Jello by a narcissistic Jewish American Princess who has decided that she needs to get away from him and "find herself."

If she needs to "find herself," all well and good. The problem is Spenser's reaction to her absence. What's to like about Susan? Nothing. She's th
Cathy DuPont
Feb 03, 2012 Cathy DuPont rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, it looks like Spenser's back and thank goodness, Hawk makes more than an appearance here. He an intricate part of the story. I'm fond of Hawk, he's a cool dude and is Frack for Spenser's Frick.

Susan, now she's another story in my book. Starting to wonder what Spenser sees in her; oh, I forgot, he loves her. But really Susan, get it together, please!

Really liked the storyline, with Spenser and Hawk traveling outside Boston to get done what they need to do to make things right.
for Raymond
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ward Pond
May 24, 2012 Ward Pond rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Open minded Spenser fans.
Perhaps the least plausible plot of the series, this story of chivalric fealty is so extreme, so unrelenting in the goodness of the good guys, the distress of the damsel, and the loathsomeness of the bad guy that it becomes too much on many levels. As a plausible story involving three dimensional characters, A Catskill Eagle fails muster, and is a poor exemplar of Dr. Parker's canon.

If one willingly suspends disbelief and approaches the story on its own terms, however, the story is a hoot, perha
Thom Dunn
Jul 27, 2009 Thom Dunn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Let those who have read the entire string of Spenser novels speak: Is there ANYTHING about this piece a shit
that marks it as anything but inferior trash that Parker could not possibly have written, ON HIS WORST DAY he never betrayed his style, his characters, his plot structure as the writer (whoever that may be) has done here. I love Parker's dialogue.
Perhaps it happened like this: Parker wanted a year off, gave a no-talent kid a chance to write a Spenser novel and never to this very day betr
May 06, 2008 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a wild ride - very entertaining. I could see this one as a movie. It's one of Parker's longer Spenser novels. Spenser doesn't have much to live for other than Susan and she's been kidnapped. That premise allows for a lot of Hawk/Spenser violence. A good dose of "suspension of disbelief" is needed before you sit down with this one. A couple "Mission Impossible" moments and the ending held this from a five star rating.
Mar 21, 2017 Sam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read many Spenser novels, this one was different. Spencer kills many people and its really murder. He could be imprisoned. Susan has run off to Cali. with another man Russell. This does not fit because he is very rich and very much a jerk. His father involved in all manner of illegal activities. yet she loves him and says she still loves Spenser. FBI wants Spenser to kill Russel's father, and they will clear up all the crimes and murder charges for Spenser. A more dark Spenser book.
Mar 11, 2016 Dave marked it as not-a-second-time  ·  review of another edition
Tried to reread this--I remembered it well--very exciting jailbreak at the beginning, Spenser and Hawk and a chase across America, I should love it. But ugh. Maybe I just can't reread these, because the second time through all I notice are the flaws?

Not even on the beach. I'll try another another time.
Spenser's 12th adventure takes him to the west coast, up to the Pacific Northwest and back to Boston. This one started out with action from the get go. I said it was an adventure, because it's really not a case he's on, he's trying to find Susan and to see if she's been kidnapped or want's to stay with the rich dude. My only problem with this he brings Susan back to Boston. :)
If ever there was a Spenser book where he is rescuing "fair damsel" from the tower, then this is it. Susan is involved with a man she refuses to give up, despite his horrible family background and his own misdeeds (which makes NO sense) and Spenser goes West to bust Hawk out of jail and Susan from the clutches of this man. The trail leads from California to Washington State to Connecticut and in and out of Boston. Spenser isn't drinking scotch yet. Strictly a fussy beer man. Susan is still eatin ...more
I enjoyed this one! It didn't feel like a regular Spenser novel, more like a roadtrip/kidnapping quest but there were some nice moments between Spenser and Hawk along the way.

I will say that I don't think this would be a good first read for someone just getting into the series because it focuses a lot, obviously, on Spenser and Susan's relationship which might lose some readers who aren't already invested in the characters.

Personally, I felt a bit of a gap between this one and the previous book
May 11, 2017 Kathleen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love the Spencer books for continuing to develop the characters and their relationships.

A good read for anyone especially for those who can appreciate thoughtful and intelligent characters. Now on to the next Spencer.
Jun 02, 2017 Matthew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
This was a fun reread of one of Parker's finest in the Spenser series. Top notch.
Ron Holmes
Mar 01, 2017 Ron Holmes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We get to spend some time in California, a long ways from Boston, in this story. It is very interesting and ingenious they way Spenser works his way through difficult situations. And, there is always just enough sex.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database named Robert B. Parker.
Robert Brown Parker was an American crime writer. His most famous works were the novels about the private detective Spenser. ABC television network developed the television series Spenser: For Hire based on the character in the late 1980s; a series of TV movies based on the character were also produced.
More about Robert B. Parker...

Other Books in the Series

Spenser (1 - 10 of 45 books)
  • The Godwulf Manuscript (Spenser, #1)
  • God Save The Child (Spenser, #2)
  • Mortal Stakes (Spenser, #3)
  • Promised Land (Spenser, #4)
  • The Judas Goat (Spenser, #5)
  • Looking For Rachel Wallace (Spenser, #6)
  • Early Autumn (Spenser, #7)
  • A Savage Place (Spenser, #8)
  • Ceremony (Spenser, #9)
  • The Widening Gyre (Spenser, #10)

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