Spenser Books

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Fictional private eye Spenser is the titular character in the “Spenser” series of novels by Robert B. Parker. The series comprises forty novels written by Parker, as well as several additional novels that completed the series after the author’s death in 2010, written by Ace Atkins and Helen Brann. Parker’s first novel about Spenser, “The Godwulf Manuscript”, was released in 1973. Spenser is a former boxer and State trooper turned detective, whose exploits are featured in this remarkably popular series, belonging to the detective novel genre.

Order of Spenser Series

# Read Title Published Details
1 The Godwulf Manuscript ( By: Robert B. Parker) 1973 Description / Buy
2 God Save the Child ( By: Robert B. Parker) 1974 Description / Buy
3 Mortal Stakes ( By: Robert B. Parker) 1975 Description / Buy
4 Promised Land ( By: Robert B. Parker) 1976 Description / Buy
5 The Judas Goat ( By: Robert B. Parker) 1978 Description / Buy
6 Looking for Rachel Wallace ( By: Robert B. Parker) 1980 Description / Buy
7 Early Autumn ( By: Robert B. Parker) 1981 Description / Buy
8 A Savage Place ( By: Robert B. Parker) 1981 Description / Buy
9 Ceremony ( By: Robert B. Parker) 1982 Description / Buy
10 The Widening Gyre ( By: Robert B. Parker) 1983 Description / Buy
11 Valediction ( By: Robert B. Parker) 1984 Description / Buy
12 A Catskill Eagle (By: Robert B. Parker) 1985 Description / Buy
13 Taming a Sea-Horse ( By: Robert B. Parker) 1986 Description / Buy
14 Pale Kings and Princes ( By: Robert B. Parker) 1987 Description / Buy
15 Crimson Joy ( By: Robert B. Parker) 1988 Description / Buy
16 Playmates (By: Robert B. Parker) 1989 Description / Buy
17 Stardust (By: Robert B. Parker) 1990 Description / Buy
18 Pastime (By: Robert B. Parker) 1991 Description / Buy
19 Double Deuce ( By: Robert B. Parker) 1992 Description / Buy
20 Paper Doll ( By: Robert B. Parker) 1993 Description / Buy
21 Walking Shadow ( By: Robert B. Parker) 1994 Description / Buy
22 Thin Air ( By: Robert B. Parker) 1995 Description / Buy
23 Chance (By: Robert B. Parker) 1996 Description / Buy
24 Small Vices (By: Robert B. Parker) 1997 Description / Buy
25 Sudden Mischief (By: Robert B. Parker) 1998 Description / Buy
26 Hush Money (By: Robert B. Parker) 1999 Description / Buy
27 Hugger Mugger (By: Robert B. Parker) 2000 Description / Buy
28 Potshot (By: Robert B. Parker) 2001 Description / Buy
29 Widow's Walk ( By: Robert B. Parker) 2002 Description / Buy
30 Back Story ( By: Robert B. Parker) 2003 Description / Buy
31 Bad Business ( By: Robert B. Parker) 2004 Description / Buy
32 Cold Service (By: Robert B. Parker) 2005 Description / Buy
33 School Days ( By: Robert B. Parker) 2005 Description / Buy
34 Hundred-Dollar Baby / Dream Girl ( By: Robert B. Parker) 2006 Description / Buy
35 Now and Then ( By: Robert B. Parker) 2007 Description / Buy
36 Rough Weather ( By: Robert B. Parker) 2008 Description / Buy
37 The Professional ( By: Robert B. Parker) 2009 Description / Buy
38 Painted Ladies ( By: Robert B. Parker) 2010 Description / Buy
39 Sixkill ( By: Robert B. Parker) 2011 Description / Buy
40 Silent Night (By: Robert B. Parker, Helen Brann) 2011 Description / Buy
41 Lullaby ( By: Ace Atkins) 2012 Description / Buy
42 Wonderland / Spenser Confidential ( By: Ace Atkins) 2013 Description / Buy
43 Cheap Shot ( By: Ace Atkins) 2014 Description / Buy
44 Kickback ( By: Ace Atkins) 2015 Description / Buy
45 Slow Burn ( By: Ace Atkins) 2016 Description / Buy
46 Little White Lies ( By: Ace Atkins) 2017 Description / Buy
47 Old Black Magic ( By: Ace Atkins) 2018 Description / Buy
48 Angel Eyes ( By: Ace Atkins) 2019 Description / Buy
49 Someone to Watch Over Me ( By: Ace Atkins) 2020 Description / Buy
50 Bye Bye Baby ( By: Ace Atkins) 2022 Description / Buy
51 Broken Trust ( By: Mike Lupica) 2023 Description / Buy
52 Hot Property ( By: Mike Lupica) 2024 Description / Buy

Order of Young Spenser Series

# Read Title Published Details
1 Chasing the Bear ( By: Robert B. Parker) 2009 Description / Buy
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Robert B. Parker was born in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1932. He earned his Master’s degree in English literature, and later his Ph. D., from Boston University. He worked in technical writing and advertising between 1957 and 1962, and later taught at Northeastern University. He also served in the Korean War as a Morse code radio operator. From 1967 until his death in 2010, he was writing full-time.

The first novel in the series, “The Godwulf Manuscript”, begins the story of private detective Spenser. In the novel, Spenser is hired by the president of an unnamed university to find a medieval manuscript that had been stolen and held for ransom. With no proof of the perpetrator’s identity, and the only potential clue being the involvement of Terry Orchard, the secretary of a radical anti-capitalist student group, Spenser begins to unearth the links between the manuscript, two murders, and a drug dealing scheme. A series of characters are introduced, and the mystery of the missing book unravels to reveal a deeper criminal connection.


Robert B. Parker received three nominations and two Edgar Allan Poe Awards for his detective fiction. He received his first Edgar for the fourth novel of his Spenser series, “Promised Land”, in 1977. In 1983, the Maltese Falcon Society of Japan presented Parker with an award for the best hard-boiled novel published in Japan for his novel “Early Autumn”. In 2002 he was named Grand Master of the Edgar Awards for his lifetime work in the genre of crime fiction, and in 2008 he received a Gumshoe Award for lifetime achievement.


The novels from the Spenser series were adapted in a series of TV movies called “Spenser: For Hire”. The series featured Robert Urich as Spenser, and Avery Brooks as Hawk. It was shot in Boston, which was one of the reasons for its major popularity with viewers, and it ran between 1985 and 1988. Three additional Spenser TV movies were made between 1999 and 2001. Parker himself had a small role in the first of these movies, and cameo roles in the other two.


Due to the popularity of his Spenser series, Robert B. Parker won over many critics and had a devoted following of detective novel fans.

The fourth novel in the series, Promised Land, is one of Parker’s most popular novels, as well as his first work to receive an Edgar Award. The story begins with Harvey Shepard, a property developer, who hires Spenser to find his runaway wife. Matters become complicated, as Spenser discovers that the missing wife has found some new friends, and learns of Shepard’s entanglement with the sinister loan shark King Powers.

Parker’s preoccupation with the shifting moral values in the contemporary American society is further explored in the exceedingly popular Early Autumn, the seventh novel in the Spenser series. The story begins with a particularly messy divorce. Spenser is hired by a divorcee find her fifteen-year-old son Paul after his father’s thugs kidnapped him. Realizing that the boy is nothing more than a pawn in the former spouses’ bitter custody battle, Spenser decides to take things into his own hands and beat the two at their own twisted game. With a contract on his life, Spenser takes the boy under his wing and tries to teach him all the values and skills he lacked due to his parents’ neglect. Paul remains a recurring, if minor, character in several later novels of the series.


Many fans of the crime fiction genre who enjoy books by Robert B. Parker also love “Ace Atkins”, a former crime reporter and author of eight very popular novels, who in fact had the honor of continuing Parker’s series after the author’s death. He is best known for his series dedicated to former US Army Ranger Quinn Colson, as well as several stand-alone novels.

Also popular among Robert B. Parker fans is author Gregory McDonald, best known for his character Irwin Maurice Fletcher – Fletch, an investigative reporter whose exploits were depicted in the “Fletch” series of crime fiction novels.

What Is The Next Book in The Spenser Series?

The next book in the The Spenser Series by Robert B. Parker is Hot Property and will be released on November, 26th 2024.


2 thoughts on “Spenser”

  1. Don’t be intimidated by the number of novels in this series. You will enjoy reading each and every one of them. Spenser is a sarcastic, smart, take-no-BS from anyone, type of guy. Do yourself a favor and read the series in order; you’ll be amazed at the plot lines and how seemingly effortlessly Robert Park writes.

    Spenser is a character that will keep you occupied for hours, weeks, even years or months. Each book is better than the last and I highly recommend this series to anyone looking to get into detective novels.

    1. Yes! This! I found a Spenser novel in a Free Little Library about 4 years ago and I have now read them all. In addition I’ve read all of the Jesse Stone and the Sunny Randall series. Good Stuff

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