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Chasing the Bear (A Young Spenser Novel)
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Chasing the Bear (Spenser #36.5)

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,469 Ratings  ·  155 Reviews
For almost forty years, Robert B. Parker's inimitable private investigator Spenser has been solving cases and selling millions of books worldwide. Now, for the first time, see how it all began as the Mystery Writers of America Grand Master sheds light on Spenser's formative years spent with his father and two uncles out West. This is an event book for every fan of Spenser, ...more
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published May 14th 2009 by Philomel Books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,586)
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Way back in 2009 I read Robert B. Parker’s new Spenser novel The Professional and wrote up a review bitching about how he fell into bad habits late in his career. Then he died a few months later, and I felt slightly guilty about bashing a series I once loved so I started re-reading them from the beginning. I figured I would just hit the early ones and quit before I started getting irritated. Yet I found myself compulsively going through all the Spenser books until I got to the point where I had ...more
Jan 18, 2011 Steve rated it it was amazing
Actually a 4 1/2 star rating. The writing is vintage Parker, and though it is considered a young adult book, I found the writing style to be almost the same as his normal Spenser novels. It's a quick read, with a message, but not preachy. Spenser fans will love the background into his childhood and the reflections on how he was raised by his father and uncles. In many ways, this book showed the basis for Spenser's work with Paul Giacomin in Early Autumn.

With other books and authors, I've found "
Oct 12, 2009 Amanda rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eric Kneisler
Oct 01, 2014 Eric Kneisler rated it really liked it
Genre: Contemporary YA fiction

Setting: Present day, in Boston, MA

Spenser- main character, has no first name
Susan Silverman - Spenser's girlfriend
Sam - Spenser's father
Cash - Spenser's uncle
Patrick - Spenser's uncle
Jeannie Haden - childhood friend of Spenser
Luke Haden - Jeannie's father
Cecil Travers - police officer

I thought this book was good but not as good as some I have read. I think it was interesting to read a book that explained about a character in Robert Parker's adult
Jul 31, 2009 Lewaynelwhite rated it really liked it
“Never a mistake,” Patrick said, “to do what you think is the right thing to do.”
Spenser's uncle, Patrick - Chasing The Bear

A while back I was talking with some librarians about, oddly enough, books. Someone posed the question, “If you could be any fictional character, who would it be?”

A few of them answered with literary characters from classical literature. Without hesitation, I answered “Spenser,” Robert B. Parker's private investigator.

There are obvious reasons why a character like Spenser w
Shannon Appelcline
May 28, 2013 Shannon Appelcline rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery, non-genre
This was advertised as a "Young Spenser" book, and I had pretty low expectations. Would it have a Lil' Hawk I wondered? A Susie-Cutie?

It's actually a very authentic-feeling look at Spenser's childhood, centering around some of the same issues of morality as the typical Spenser book. The whole is laid out as a series of vignettes and short stories about Spenser's youth, from 10-18 or so, interwoven with a continuing conversation of Spenser and Susan in the modern day.

Though the modern-day convers
Jan 25, 2010 Chuck rated it really liked it
So I'm sort of grieving at Robert B. Parker's passing; this is the first Spenser novel in nearly twenty years that I missed. I don't know if it's a YA novel, even though that's how it was classified in the public library. It's a good book, but it shows how a young man from rural Wyoming became, well, Spenser.

It's a great book; the entire thing is a series of flashbacks interspersed with a conversation Spenser is having with Susan Silverman, love of his life. We see how Spenser grew up raised by
Apr 16, 2012 Paula rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult
I don't know who this book if for. Seems to me it should work (mildly at best) with long-time fans of the Spenser detective novels who are twelve years old. Show me one and I'll show you a hen's tooth.

I bought this book for the library, thinking that Robert B. Parker had created a wonderful character in Spenser and that kids would like the young Spenser. But the book is a dialogue between the adult Spenser and his true love Susan, with intersperced flashbacks to answer Susan's questions about Sp
Feb 04, 2011 Karen rated it it was amazing
A wonderful novella. A boy raised by his father and two uncles as a nearly equal member of a four-member family is allowed to unfold as a human being coming into himself. Having been given a strong base from which to grow, he comes into his own as his own person. I found myself identifying with him as one who doesn't understand why people feel compelled to take others at prejudicial face value since he meets everyone as an individual. Of course, this isn't met well with people who bully as a way ...more
Feb 01, 2016 Juanita rated it it was amazing
Review: Chasing The Bear by Robert B Parker.

This is an amazing read and I wished I would have read it a long time ago. It 19s a young adult novel that shares a message to all young boys how issues were handled years ago. I appreciate the way Robert Parker addressed the issue of what we face today with young teens.

The story is about Spenser 19s character as a young boy being reared by his father and two uncles. He was brought up in a Man 19s world and never new his mother who died during child-bi
Shirley Worley
Jul 11, 2015 Shirley Worley rated it it was amazing
Shelves: robert-b-parker
I don't know how I missed Chasing The Bear. Probably because it was listed as a YA novel. If you are a Spenser fan, this is a great, but short read. Susan persuades Spenser to talk about his growing-up years, and as he tells his story, she imparts her 'shrink-ish observations, which actually helps move the story along.

Raised by his father and two uncles after his mother died, Spenser recants the life lessons his three, somewhat uneducated but devoted, 'parents' taught him during his teen years
Jun 30, 2015 Jerry rated it really liked it
We were so enamored with Parker’s Young Adult book “Edenville Owls”, we decided to read his two others. This one, “Chasing”, is actually billed as part of the Spenser series, a novella published three stories before the final 39th entry in the original set. Indeed it is set as a current-day conversation between Spenser and love partner Susan, wherein he is relating stories about his growing up as a teenager. We found Spenser’s back story fascinating reading; and Susan’s observations about his be ...more
Jeff Yoak
This was absolutely fantastic. Spenser tells Susan stories from this childhood, and this book is played out with a 14-year-old Spenser. We've heard brief mention of Spenser's father and his two uncles in the past, but it was wonderful to get to know them.

Cecil Lawson
Oct 27, 2015 Cecil Lawson rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Parker's Spenser has been a life-long favorite detective character. This short novel, which covers several incidents in the early life of the wise-cracking Boston sleuth, will be familiar to his fans, as Parker has already written about them in previous novels. I enjoyed the book for the most part, but I was somewhat disappointed that Parker changed some interesting details in their re-telling, making them, well, very un-Spenser-like. Parker seemed to lose interest in Spenser after the early 199 ...more
Don Crouch
Jan 01, 2014 Don Crouch rated it liked it

Well, not really. For that, you still have to go to The Godwulf Manuscript. After almost 40 years, still great.

OH....WE FINALLY LEARN HIS FIRST NAME, THEN? Like that'll ever happen.


Now THAT is an interesting question. What is Chasing The Bear?

Well, it's written for what the trade calls the Young Adult audience. Basically Middle School and up.

It does, however, have value to "completists." All through the series, Spenser has referred
Una Tiers
Dec 19, 2013 Una Tiers rated it liked it
This was not up to Parker's ability. The dialogue, usually stellar, fell flat into I said, he replied.
This one was interesting. It's one of my Mom's favorites and I can see why. It's intriguing to actually see some of where Spenser came from, rather than getting just the bit fragments that were revealed in the earlier books of the series. I liked the audiobook, which proved quite a surpise for me as the narrator is Robert B. Parker's own son, Daniel. Not at all what I was expecting when I downloaded this audio from the library. He has a good reading voice. Susan still brings the book down though ...more
Dec 08, 2009 Alison rated it it was ok
I'm pretty disappointed with this book.

On the one hand, I liked looking back at Spencer's life when he was a kid. His father and uncles were really great and made complete sense, in terms of who they were based on who Spencer came to be.

However, I felt that the story itself was somewhat lacking. I didn’t like the bumpers with Spencer and Susan. I didn’t like the picking apart of Spencer's motives and the psychobabble nature of Susan's comments felt trite to me.

What I really wished the book would
Jun 22, 2009 Joy rated it it was amazing
Now that I check Parker's web site and see when new books are released,
I can reserve them at the library. This is the third of Parker's novels
for teens. It came out in May. What a great story! Spenser is telling
Susan about his life growing up with his young father, and two teen-age
uncles. This is the most background we've had on Spenser's young life.
Spenser's mother died just before he was born (C-section, obviously).
The hometown seems to be a small town in Wyoming. The father and uncles
treat hi
Dec 07, 2013 Louis rated it it was amazing
I listened to this book on audio CD. It was read by Parker's son, who did a great job narrating. His voice did not change much for different characters, yet it was easy to distinguish between the secondary characters.

I wondered if this book was the start of a YA series in which Spenser as a child solved different mysteries. I was very heartened to discover that this was not the case.

In fact, the story is a series of chronological flashbacks told by the adult Spenser to Susan, his wife. They ar
Jan 06, 2014 Dale rated it really liked it
I enjoyed it but would a young adult who has never heard of the Spenser books?

I've read just about everything Robert B. Parker has written. I'm a huge fan of the Spenser series and I really did enjoy Chasing the Bear: A Young Spenser Novel , a look at the frequently alluded to but never before fleshed out childhood of Spenser in "West Flub-dub", somewhere out west.

Fans of the series will enjoy it. It consists of Spenser and Susan talking about Spenser's childhood (with plenty of psycho-analysi
Sep 11, 2012 Mike rated it liked it
It took me a long time to get around to reading Chasing The Bear. A young adult look at Spenser’s past? Hmm. I wasn’t really interested. But I’d reached the point wherein all I had left to read were books written by other people under Parker’s name (or at least continuing his series, I forget if they say things like “Parker’s Spenser” or the like), some non-series books that include words like “love” in the title, and two or three young adult novels (plus one Spenser novel which either escaped m ...more
Dec 29, 2014 Ed rated it really liked it
Shelves: action, young-adult
#37 in the Spenser series. Spenser has mentioned growing up in an all male household and this prequel fleshes out his backstory.

Spenser prequel - YA novel has Spenser and Susan spending an afternoon in Boston and Spenser providing flashbacks of his formative years living with his father and two uncles from when he was 14 until leaving for college. Spenser rescues a classmate from her abusive father and later at her request protects a Mexican classmate from racially motivated beatings.
Rei Wahl
OK read

Learning Spenser's background while he talks to Susan is somewhat enlightening as to what kind of man he became. The various times of his life with his father and uncles are beyond my sense of any reality. I do not know anyone with the absolute sense of morality that these four men possess, I wish I did. I enjoy fiction which by definition is not fact. My issue with the Spenser men is that they are more fantasy than fiction.
Mar 05, 2015 Steve rated it really liked it
I'd avoided reading this book for the longest time, because I was concerned that it would resemble a young Indiana Jones story. I needn't have worried. This is a thoughtful narrative, structured as a contemporary discussion between Spencer and Susan, presenting several related stories about how 14 year old Spenser dealt with courage, love, and the desire to help others in the rural community he resided in. A refreshing read.
Jun 13, 2009 Cindy rated it really liked it
Ah, Spenser . . . this is a great story for Spenser fans, delving into his young teen years and giving us a clue as to how Spenser became so incredibly cool. Though formatted for young readers, it is told as if Susan and Spenser are at a park and he is sharing the story with her. The book assumes that you know both characters, and bounces back to them often, giving glimpses of the familiar Parker dialogue style. I don't know if this format would work for new young readers, or if they will just b ...more
***Dave Hill
Dec 14, 2011 ***Dave Hill rated it liked it
Shelves: text
(Original review:

If you like Parker’s Spenser novels, you’ll likely enjoy this “Young Spenser” novel, a YA effort which tells, episodically, of the detective’s youth. A thin (widely spaced) 169 pages, it’s an even faster read than his recent novels, but still entertaining for all that, and more of a creative stretch than he’s done with Spenser in a while — though, really, there’s more fleshing out of Spenser’s past than any brilliant or unexpected revela
Apr 10, 2016 Francisco rated it it was amazing
A short story of young spencer making a some decisions as a youth guided by his dad Sam and his uncles Cash and Patrick. About when to run and when to stand your ground. When to defend those who need help. To stand up for what is right.
Aug 17, 2015 Mei rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-fiction
Awwww a young Spenser. Lovely little novella which tells a few stories of Spenser's youth and upbringing. And if you like Spenser, surely you want to know where he comes from. Sweet.
Jan 23, 2010 Jodi rated it really liked it
With Robert B. Parker's passing this week, this book, a young adult book, serves well as both the prequel and the ending. Spenser and Susan are watching the Swan Boats in Boston Gardens and he's reminiscing about his childhood at Susan's request. We learn, in Parker's minimilistic way, how Spenser the boy became Spenser the man. It's a lovely story and though it was written recently, there was no need of revisionist history. Spenser the man lived the life he was shown as a child. You know right ...more
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Madison Mega-Mara...: Chasing the Bear 1 3 Aug 07, 2012 11:17PM  
  • Voices in the Dark (The Last Descendants, #2)
  • Robert B. Parker's Wonderland (Spenser, #41)
  • Cross Your Heart, Connie Pickles
  • When the Snow Fell
  • City of Time (The Navigator Trilogy, #2)
  • Alis
  • Sophie's Secret (Sophie, #2)
  • Samurai (Simon St George #2)
  • In Pursuit of Spenser: Mystery Writers on Robert B. Parker and the Creation of an American Hero
  • Freaks and Revelations
  • Milrose Munce and the Den of Professional Help
  • The Basilisk’s Lair (Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist, #2)
  • Dolly Departed (Gretchen Birch, #3)
  • Mostly Sunny with a Chance of Storms
  • Catwalk (On the Runway, #2)
  • Poodle Springs (Philip Marlowe, #8)
  • Gorgeous (Avery Sisters Trilogy, #2)
  • The Curse of Deadman's Forest (Oracles of Delphi Keep, #2)
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 44 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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“I read someplace that wanting to know everything about a person is wanting to possess them.” “I believe that is probably true,” Susan said.” 0 likes
“I was sitting with the girl of my dreams on a bench in the Boston Public Garden watching the swan boats circle the little lagoon.” 0 likes
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