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Chasing The Bear (Spenser #36.5)

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  1,255 ratings  ·  141 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
ebook, 176 pages
Published May 1st 2009 by Speak
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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
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 "
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eric Kneisler
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
“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
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
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
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
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
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.

Don Crouch

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
This was not up to Parker's ability. The dialogue, usually stellar, fell flat into I said, he replied.
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
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
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
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
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
#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.
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.
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
(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
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
Mar 02, 2010 Patti rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Parker's Spenser books
Shelves: fiction, read-in-2010
Interesting. The premise is that Susan has finally gotten Spenser to talk about his past, and in that conversation (the book is one conversation), Spenser tells where his moral center comes from. In this short novel, Spenser's spirit comes from being raised by his father and two uncles, and from several incidents in his teens.

I think much of this could be gleaned from the Spenser novels, though specific incidents are told here. I don't see this as a young adult novel, as it is told to Susan duri
Not being a Robert B Parker reader and a follower of the Spenser character, I did enjoy reading the story. The theme is relates to young adult about the choices one takes and how they affect your life was good. However, I not sure young adults will go for the conversational telling of the story with Spenser's current girl friend. Maybe if she wasn't a psychiatrist/Harvard PhD, the telling would be more down-to-earth for a young adult. She added to much clinical terminology and thinking to the co ...more
Patricia Eichenlaub
Just because this is about Spenser's childhood and written in large print doesn't mean its a children's book. If you like Spenser, you'll like learning about his background
Jul 21, 2009 Richard rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone, especially Spenser or Robert Parker fans, people who like coming of age stories.
Recommended to Richard by: I read all of Mr. Parkers' work, but I saw a review of this.
We finally get a glimpse into the young Spenser as he relates stories from his youth to Susan. He starts with general information about his growing up with his father and the 2 brothers of his deceased mother and then gives us some specific tales of developing into the protector he becomes later. These flashbacks are very interesting and enlightening.

As a YA title, the language is toned down a lot. As is usual with all of Mr. Parkers' books, it is a very fast read because of all the white space
Well what can I say? I love Robert B. Parker but I am not sure that this novel was really worth the three stars I gave it. I did enjoy the retro feel of the novel but I frankly don't think that teens would appreciate it. How many teens want us old fogeys to sit and reminisce about our childhood? This novel is presented in that way. I can’t imagine younger readers appreciating Spencer’s story told from the point of view of an adult looking back at his first coming of age experience. I got it but ...more
May 11, 2014 Mickey rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: die-hard Spenser fans
A sweet little story from Spenser's formative years.
David Ward
Chasing the Bear: A Young Spenser Novel (Spencer #37) by Robert B. Parker (Philomel Books 2009)(Fiction - Teen Mystery) is a wonderful Spenser novel which Parker apparently targeted at a new audience: teens. This tale features a conversation between a grownup Spenser and his love Susan in which Spenser tells the backstory of his formative years growing up in an all male household (except for the dog) in Montana. It's almost short story length; I can't wait to pass this to my twelve year old son ...more
Cathy Cusson
Interesting to see a young Spenser.
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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 43 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)
The Godwulf Manuscript (Spenser, #1) Sixkill (Spenser, #39) Painted Ladies (Spenser, #38) Chance (Spenser, #23) Split Image (Jesse Stone, #9)

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