Early Autumn (Spenser, #7)
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Early Autumn (Spenser #7)

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  3,421 ratings  ·  185 reviews
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...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published April 5th 1992 by Dell Publishing Company (first published 1981)
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The Godwulf Manuscript by Robert B. ParkerA Catskill Eagle by Robert B. ParkerDouble Deuce by Robert B. ParkerPromised Land by Robert B. ParkerLooking For Rachel Wallace by Robert B. Parker
Best Robert B. Parker Mysteries
9th out of 59 books — 26 voters
The Hotel New Hampshire by John IrvingGorky Park by Martin Cruz SmithCujo by Stephen KingChronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcí­a MárquezRed Dragon by Thomas Harris
Best Books of 1981
15th out of 88 books — 69 voters

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Community Reviews

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Dan Schwent
When Spenser is hired by a divorcee to bring back her kidnapped son from his father, he gets more than he bargained for. Paul's parents are using him as a pawn and neither really want him around. Spenser winds up taking the kid under his wing and soon has someone gunning for him...

Of the Spensers I've read so far, this one is in the top three. While it has all the Spenser hallmarks, like a long description of cooking a meal, wisecracks, discussions of Spenser's code, and Hawk being the baddest m...more
Spenser gets another peach of a client in this one. Patty Giacomin hires him to get her son, Paul, back from her husband, Mel. Patty and Mel had a nasty divorce, and they’ve made a game out of trying to keep Paul away from each other.

Spenser doesn’t have much trouble finding the kid but is disturbed by the fifteen year old boy who is suffering from an odd form of neglect. He isn’t abused, but since both of the parents are pieces of shit, Paul has been ignored and never taught about much of anyt...more
John Arfwedson
This is the one to read if you're reading only one.

Spenser is an acquired taste. You have to like the formula and the archetype and not be overly concerned by the built-in limitations imposed by both. For me, when done well it's like listening to a great old song: you know what's coming but there's something irresistible about the melody. Like Ronnie "The Hawk" Hawkins might growl it out: "I put a spell on you."

At his best (not all the books), I love Spenser, the wisecracking gumshoe whose hear...more
Another five-star rating. The Sunny Randall book
where Sunny mentors a young girl was written in
1999. This book in the Spenser series was written
in 1981, but Spenser is hired to find a 15-year-old
boy who has been kidnapped by his father, more as
revenge against the mother than love for son. Spenser
determines that the frail, disinterested boy needs to
learn to be autonomous, dependent on himself. Spenser
takes Paul to the Maine wood to build a cabin for a
friend, which is really a crash course in surv...more
Jan 14, 2009 Ikonopeiston rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: mystery fans, fiction fans
Shelves: mystery
This is, I think, the best of the Spenser mysteries. It presents the hero as a more fully rounded character with interests and talents outside the rote solving of crimes. His interaction with the boy who has been damaged by the actions of his divorced parents reveals not only the human behind the wise-cracking facade but important hints as to the past of Spenser himself. Susan is also shown to have both flaws and virtues here. I believe this was the point at which Parker committed himself to wri...more
Parker's 7th Spenser book is one of the best in the series. It reveals a lot about Spenser and his code by watching him save a kid (Paul Giacomin) from his indifferent parents. Spenser is approached by the kid's mother. His task is to retrieve the boy from his noncustodial parent, but it soon becomes obvious that Paul is just a pawn in a game between his parents. They irritate each other by holding him, but neither cares for him. Spenser decides that the undeveloped boy needs a crash course in l...more
Jeff Yoak
This was a little of a slow starter, but ended up my favorite of the Spenser novels so far. True, Hawk's appearance in a novel makes it better than it would be otherwise and he appears fairly late in this one, but there is another, more direct, reason.

The first part of the novel has Spenser solving a rather typical case... tracking down a kid who has been taken by his father from his mother who has custody. He tracks him down and brings him back. That's sort of ho-hum. Spenser then comes to disl...more
Jane Stewart
4 ½ stars. One of my favorites in the series - partly because this has a neat relationship developing and changing.

A teenage boy is neglected and mistreated by his parents. (They don’t deserve to have a kid.) I loved Spenser’s relationship with the boy and the changes that happened. I enjoyed the way Spenser got the parents to do something. And there is a neat ending.

The narrator Michael Prichard was very good.

This is book #7 in the Spenser series.
Narrative mode: 1st person Spenser. Unabri...more
My first Spencer book, and I kinda liked it. I found my self laughing in the places I should have, and there were quite a few of those - quite humorous. The mystery, well, it wasn't much. The side story, about Spencer taking a fatherly interest in a teen boy that needed help, that was quite well done. I read there are more books with the teen as a character, and I'd be interested in how Parker plays it. At the least this was a nice intro to a new character. If I recall, I chose this book based o...more
Another dip into the Robert B. Parker oeuvre, this one the seventh in the long-running Spenser series, and it didn't disappoint (I read it over the course of one day because that's the way to consume these clever, witty, and dark thrillers).

This one is far more of a thriller than a mystery. Teenage Paul Giacomin is struggling as a pawn in the bitter divorce of his parents, and Spenser--bizarrely but believably--rescues Paul and takes him off to the woods to learn how to be independent. They cho...more
The snooping around, looking for clues and beating on the bad guys, takes a backseat in Spenser's seventh case. Until toward the end, to wrap it all up. As Susan would say, "Spenser you big sap", in him befriending a 15 year old kid. With parents that don't give a crap about him/his health/growing up into a young man. Spenser steps in to help him out of his shell. He's the ultimate big brother. Sad and touching storyline, for the big lug. 4.5 stars.
Finding an old Spenser that I hadn't read is like finding gold. The story is about Spenser and a young boy with the parents from hell. They are divorcing and using him as a weapon against each other and neither gives a care about the boy. Without giving spoilers, Spenser takes on the boy and goes from there. Hawk and Susan are part of the story (before Susan became a bit oppressive) and no more needs to be said!
The book where "Spenser takes that boy to Maine and teaches him what he knows" (to quote my mom) which is cooking, fighting and building. It was pretty cool to read about the boy going from a passive wimp to a more confident adolescent.
Another favorite. Spenser steps on to assist a boy in a dysfunctional family. How he does this -- and how Susan responds -- make for a satisfying read.
Somewhere along the line, I read that this was the best of the Spenser novels by Robert B. Parker, and so for years I looked for it in used bookstores, but never found it. Then last month we went to the Friends of SF Public Library's Buck-a-Book sale, and there it was! And I liked the book much more than I expected to, especially after I started reading it. Seemed a bit macho at first, but then it got more interesting as it went along, and I found it a very sweet story (despite a certain amount...more
Maybe it's only due four stars, but I had good reason to give it five. The laptop and the internet have been too shiny lately. I am sick of myself for not reading like I used to. When I was a kid I was reading a book a day, but now I seem to lack the patience and concentration.

However, I had read another Spenser book before, liked it, and was actually enticed to read this, rather than a dozen other books that I've bought but never opened. I enjoyed it immensely and therefore I think it deserves...more
Text Addict
I'm always amazed by how subtle Parker could be via writing that appears to be very simple and transparent. As with poetry, there's a lot going on in the spaces between the words.

But this is an awfully austere story. Hired to protect a mother and son from their ex-husband/father, Spenser decides to save the kid from both of them. The kid literally does nothing with himself but go to school and watch TV: neither of his parents, it seems, have taken the slightest interest in him except as a posse...more
Cathy DuPont
Hum. Something Spenser would say, or perhaps Susan or Hawk for that matter. Hum, what to say about Early Autumn?

Certainly a change of pace for Spenser, this book delves deeper into Spenser's character like never before. Who is this guy Spenser; what makes him tick?

Some answers are found in this unique book along with more about Hawk. Won't say Hawk, Spenser's sidekick because that wouldn't be quite accurate. They certainly have similar values and are friends, I think, but they are so very diffe...more
I've read many Robert Parker/Spenser novels, for all the reasons that people do: the Boston-area setting, the sharp dialogue, etc. Usually, I enjoy the read, but end up with "Dorito Syndrome": the feeling that you've been consuming something, but you still feel unfed.

This book sort of left me with the same feeling at the end, but there's a different twist. We see Spenser developing as a character who could have been a great father. I could of chapters where Spenser and Paul Giacomin were buildin...more
Robert Beveridge
Robert B. Parker, Early Autumn (Dell, 1981)

It may still be a little too early in the game to call the Spenser novels some of the great twentieth-century detective fiction. There cannot, however, be any doubt as to the continuing popularity of, and loyalty to, the line of novels written by Robert Parker about the combination renaissance man/gumshoe. Over the twenty-odd years since The Godwulf Manuscript hit the shelves, Spenser fans have accumulated like mosquitoes in a light fixture. We've watch...more
This is the 7th in the Spenser series, published in 1980. I will call it "Spenser And His Camp For Boy".

The set up is that a recently divorced woman hires Spenser to recover her kidnapped son. Spenser easily does so, but discovers that the boy is being used as a weapon between the two parents. So, it's a switcheroo. She isn't the damsel, the boy is the damsel. Spenser tries to bring the rather unloveable boy, of no charm or virtue, to maturity, so he can liberate himself from his unloving parent...more
Brian Southworth
Being a newbie to the Robert B.Parker world, i have been overly happy with the spenser books up to this point. This book(#7 in the series) is no exception. Early Autumn reads as a coming- of- age story more than a mystery, which i was perfectly fine with. Spenser ends up being hired to retrieve a 15 year old boy named Paul who has been kidnapped by his father.Turns out neither the mother or the father really want the boy and are just using him to meet their needs.
Paul is damaged and doesn't hav...more
Phillip Thurlby
Robert B. Parker to me is the Tony Scott (R.I.P.) to Raymond Chandler's Ridley Scott. From Raymond we got medium changing masterpieces that will live on forever. We don't get that from Parker, but what we do get is a steady stream of more-than-adequate books, with plenty verging towards brilliant.

But I just can't make my mind up about this one, and I think it can't make its own mind up either. The story (very, very mild spoilers) is really in three parts.

The first sets the scene and contains a f...more
Oct 23, 2007 Leo rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Detective mystery fans
Early Autumn is the first fiction I've read in over three years, and it was a delight. The author, Robert B. Parker, has a Ph.D in English from Boston University, and he created the detective series SPENSER FOR HIRE which was made into a TV series for three years in the late 1980s. The late Rpbert Uhrich starred as Spenser, and Avery Brooks played Hawk. Brooks is a tenured professor of drama at Rutgers University and starred in Star Trek Deep Space Nine.

Here are excerpts from Parker's site:

I decided to re-read this (listen, actually, with Michael Pritchard's great narration) after reading a recent book of essays on Robert B. Parker's work. It mentioned Early Autumn and tickled my memory. Having re-finished, I'd say this ranks up with my favorites of the Spenser novels. It still has a bit of the detective work, of course, with Spenser bulling his way through things and annoying people. It has the fine crisp dialog, and the excellent descriptions of people and place. And it also has...more
While Looking for Rachel Wallace was enjoyable, I really don’t understand people’s fascination in Robert B. Parker’s Spencer series. His books always leave me wanting and seem way too short. There’s never much of a plot. Little, if any thing, takes place in the novel because it’s never developed enough.

Some critics think that Early Autumn marks Parker’s best Spencer novel, but after finally reading it, I completely disagree. Spencer basically adopts a teenaged boy, whose father and mother are di...more
Julien Rapp
I enjoyed 'Early Autumn' because it added a new depth to the Spenser character beyond Susan, Hawk and the other staples of his world. Here we see Spencer take on a case where a teenage boy is basically a pawn in a game between two parents of which neither one really wants him. They merely use him to get at each other. Spenser helps the boy find himself through physical training and a building project. This is another good book in the Spenser collection.
Joe Young
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 t...more
Gerald Sinstadt
Early Autumn is the seventh Sprnser novel, first published in 1980, five years after Mortal Stakes, also recently released in a Kindle edition. It marks a clear development both by the author and his central character. (Brenda Loring, who featured somewhat uncomfortably in the earlier book, is despatched in a single paragraph - Spenser is invited to her wedding but apparently declines). Now Susan Silverman takes a more prominent role and, blissfully, Hawk's muscle and repartee are required.

The cool thing I love about these books is not only is it a "stand alone" but also part of a series, so you can start it at any point and know you haven't missed out on anything. :) While a *little* dated (it takes place late 70's) the story moves at a good pace, so you aren't skipping things to get to the point; and at 200+ pages, it's too short to do that anyway. When Slander gets a child kidnapping/custody case that proves just how rotten parents can be, Spenser steps up for a 15 year old boy...more
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Mansfield Public ...: The"Early Autumn" review by Suzanne Dowling 1 1 Aug 05, 2014 11:49AM  
Early Autumn by Robert B. Parker 7 30 Oct 19, 2013 05:01PM  
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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
More about Robert B. Parker...
The Godwulf Manuscript (Spenser, #1) Sixkill (Spenser, #39) Chance (Spenser, #23) Painted Ladies (Spenser, #38) Split Image (Jesse Stone, #9)

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“The urban renewers had struck again. They'd evicted me, a fortune-teller, and a bookie from the corner of Mass. Ave. and Boylston, moved in with sandblasters and bleached oak and plant hangers, and last I looked appeared to be turning the place into a Marin County whorehouse.” 1 likes
“tape on and the car trembled with percussion all the way to Saugus, where Hawk pulled into a Martignetti’s off Route 1 and bought three” 0 likes
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