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A Catskill Eagle

(Spenser #12)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  6,612 ratings  ·  278 reviews
Spenser's girlfriend Susan goes away with another man, Jerry Costigan, the son of a very rich and dangerous criminal. Spenser and his friend, Hawk, go to find Susan. Soon they are in the world of the CIA, guns and murder.
Paperback, 386 pages
Published June 1st 1986 by Dell (first published 1985)
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Average rating 4.05  · 
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 ·  6,612 ratings  ·  278 reviews

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Bill Kerwin
Nov 02, 2016 rated it liked it

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
Jul 02, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Jason Koivu
Apr 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: detective, fiction
This is the "biggest" Spenser plot I think I've read so far in this series. At least, it's big by the measure of its global significance. Spenser and Hawk are in deep, so deep that they need special governmental assistance to extricate themselves. And yet, somehow love is the all-important motive to solving the whole sticky situation. I loved it!
Jul 10, 2012 rated it did not like it

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 t
May 12, 2017 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
Daniel Cooke
Oct 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
Jerry B
Dec 25, 2015 rated it it was ok
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
Jim C
Mar 31, 2020 rated it it was ok
This is part of a series but it can be read as a stand alone novel. In this one, Susan is in trouble with her new boyfriend and she asked Hawk for help. He gets into trouble and away goes Spenser to rescue both of them.

As you can tell by my rating I was disappointed by this offering. Instead of the usual blueprint for the Spenser novels we get a buddy cop pure action flick. I don't mind when an author tries new things in their work but not at the expense of the established characters. Unfortunat
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read
First published in 1987, Spenser goes full-80s action hero here. This brings a conclusion to a thread that's been running through the last few books, and although it's all a bit messy, it's just a pleasure to enjoy Spenser and Hawk laying waste to baddies left, right and centre.

This was my first Spenser. I picked it up out of boredom, during a family holiday to Spain. I think I was about 12, and the resort didn't have a lot for a kid my age to do to stay out of trouble. My dad (who was a Parker
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jane Stewart
3 ½ 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 is
Brent Soderstrum
Sep 11, 2016 rated it liked it
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
Gloria ~ mzglorybe
May 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
Jason Hillenburg
Sep 20, 2017 rated it did not like it
Not a good period for the series. A Catskill Eagle is a shockingly bloated Spenser outing that finds Parker tossing everything, including the kitchen sink, into a barely comprehensible narrative seemingly ripped from slambangin' Hollywood blockbusters. Comparing A Catskill Eagle with earlier classics in the series like Moral Stakes is illustrative of what a fallow period this is for Parker's writing. The best advice a reader can be given about this novel is don't think too hard and judge it on i ...more
Vincent Lombardo
Nov 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
It was a hard book to judge. On one hand the plot was awesome, the characters continue to amaze, and the chemistry of Spenser and Hawk still makes me laugh. On the other hand the relationship drama between Spenser and Susan still puts me off. With a lot of the drama still making no sense to me.
Sep 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing
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 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 rated it really liked it
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!
Aug 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this twelfth entry in the Spenser series quite a bit, despite its premise, which I found to be somewhat absurd.

The premise? That Spenser would criss-cross the country and willingly commit multiple crimes, including cold-blooded murder, in order to rescue Susan Silverman from the clutches of her new boyfriend, Russell Costigan. Absurd, too, that not only Hawk but Quirk and Belson would knowingly enable Spenser and assist him in this quest, just because … hey, it's Susan! It's all especi
Evelyn Wilson
Apr 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't know why I am letting Spenser and Susan's relationship irritates me so much. I can't even ask Robert B. Parker about why he put this in his books. Psychobabble is correct when describing some of the psychologist assistance and Susan is become one. WOW!

Page 202 . . . "You did help," I said.
"No, I was the thing you used to help yourself. You projected your strength and love onto me and used it to feel better. In a sense I never knew if you loved me or merely loved the projection of yours
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: robert-b-parker
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 21, 2019 rated it liked it
A little darker and violent than previous Parker books I have enjoyed. Admittedly these books are chewing gum for the eyes, although Parker continues the genre pioneered by John D. MacDonald, my long-time not-so-guilty-secret favorite author: the tough guy who weaves poetry and social awareness into his everyday speech. One major difference between Spenser and Travis: the presence of a lover (and we're not just talking sex) in Spenser's life, Susan, who provides the mainspring for this story. Th ...more
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2019
The way Parker makes clear -- & makes fun of -- privilege & prejudice (in 1985!) is one of the wonderful things that sets his Spenser apart. & Susan. I love Parker for giving Spenser a lasting, nurturing love. It's an honest, complicated, expansive relationship between equals. Parker does equality & autonomy beautifully, so his stories remain strong decades later. ...more
Nancy H
An entry in the classic whodunit series featuring Spenser and his sidekick Hawke, this story sees Spenser risking all for love, including his life, to save his former girlfriend Susan. She has come under the spell of a criminal family and cannot escape them. Spenser and Hawke come to the rescue, in a typical shoot 'em up, hard-boiled detective story from master of the genre Robert Parker.
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
A harder character as far as killing outside the judicial system. Compensated for with a sensitive, romantic side that causes him to murder people. Right.
Brian Poole
Aug 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
A Catskill Eagle brought the Spenser series to a crucial mid-80s turning point.

An S.O.S. from Susan Silverman sent both Spenser and Hawk to a small California town where they ran afoul of the rich, powerful family of the man Susan had left Spenser for. Susan was ready to break free, but first Spenser and Hawk had to find her, putting them on a violent, deadly odyssey that landed them in an uneasy alliance with federal agents, with their freedom riding on its success.

Much like its predecessor, th
Andrew Froude
Dec 30, 2019 rated it did not like it
Too much Susan - she is the worst
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MYSTERY NOVELS B...: "An Evil Mind"--a New Crime Fiction Vlog 1 5 Jul 26, 2018 05:30PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Robert B. Parker's Killing the Blues (Jesse Stone, #10)
  • Robert B. Parker's Fool Me Twice (Jesse Stone, #11)
  • Robert B. Parker's Damned If You Do (Jesse Stone, #12)
  • Robert B. Parker's Colorblind (Jesse Stone #17)
  • Robert B. Parker's Debt to Pay (Jesse Stone, #15)
  • Robert B. Parker's Blind Spot (Jesse Stone, #13)
  • Robert B. Parker's Fool's Paradise (A Jesse Stone Novel Book 19)
  • Robert B. Parker's The Devil Wins (Jesse Stone, #14)
  • Robert B. Parker's The Bitterest Pill (Jesse Stone, #18)
  • Robert B. Parker's Grudge Match (Sunny Randall Book 8)
  • Robert B. Parker's Blood Feud (Sunny Randall, #7)
  • The Burglar in Short Order
  • Free Fall in Crimson (Travis McGee #19)
  • The Revelators (A Quinn Colson, #10)
  • Robert B. Parker's The Hangman's Sonnet (Jesse Stone, #16)
  • Free Fall (Elvis Cole, #4)
  • The Redeemers (Quinn Colson, #5)
  • Walking the Perfect Square (Moe Prager #1)
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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.

Other books in the series

Spenser (1 - 10 of 48 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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