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Pastime (The Spenser Series Book 18) and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
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Pastime (Spenser 18) Mass Market Paperback – April 1, 1992

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Boston sleuth Spenser trails a woman to her gangster boyfriend's hideout in a mystery that spent eight weeks on PW 's bestseller list.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

YA-- Parker's latest mystery features his likable sleuth Spenser (spelled ``like the poet''); the shady, enigmatic Hawk; and Spenser's longtime love, Susan Silverman. In this sequel to Early Autumn (Dell, 1987), Paul Giacomin (now 25) asks Spenser to locate his missing mother, who has become involved with the mob and disappeared under mysterious circumstances. This is one of Parker's strongest novels of late, reminiscent of his earlier works. The emphasis is on character interaction and relationships as opposed to the visceral slasher novels glutting supermarket or newsstand racks. Reading a Spenser novel is like a family reunion--it makes one feel good. --John Lawson, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (April 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425132935
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425132937
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 0.9 x 7.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #213,748 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) has long been acknowledged as the dean of American crime fiction. His novel featuring the wise-cracking, street-smart Boston private-eye Spenser earned him a devoted following and reams of critical acclaim, typified by R.W.B. Lewis' comment, "We are witnessing one of the great series in the history of the American detective story" (The New York Times Book Review). In June and October of 2005, Parker had national bestsellers with APPALOOSA and SCHOOL DAYS, and continued his winning streak in February of 2006 with his latest Jesse Stone novel, SEA CHANGE.

Born and raised in Massachusetts, Parker attended Colby College in Maine, served with the Army in Korea, and then completed a Ph.D. in English at Boston University. He married his wife Joan in 1956; they raised two sons, David and Daniel. Together the Parkers founded Pearl Productions, a Boston-based independent film company named after their short-haired pointer, Pearl, who has also been featured in many of Parker's novels.

Parker began writing his Spenser novels in 1971 while teaching at Boston's Northeastern University. Little did he suspect then that his witty, literate prose and psychological insights would make him keeper-of-the-flame of America's rich tradition of detective fiction. Parker's fictional Spenser inspired the ABC-TV series Spenser: For Hire. In February 2005, CBS-TV broadcast its highly-rated adaptation of the Jesse Stone novel Stone Cold, which featured Tom Selleck in the lead role as Parker's small-town police chief. The second CBS movie, Night Passage, also scored high ratings, and the third, Death in Paradise, aired on April 30, 2006.

Parker was named Grand Master of the 2002 Edgar Awards by the Mystery Writers of America, an honor shared with earlier masters such as Alfred Hitchcock and Ellery Queen.

Parker died on January 19, 2010, at the age of 77.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on January 30, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Here we are up to the 18th novel in Robert B. Parker's Spenser series and we finally get to find out a whole lot of interesting things about our hero's past. Ten years earlier in "Early Autumn," Spenser saved Paul Giacomin from a destructive family situation and basically adopted the boy. Now Paul shows up to report that his mother is missing and he wants the help of his surrogate Father in finding her. As Paul tries to deal with what his mother means to him, Spenser reveals key details from his own life, raised out west by a father and two uncles, to both Paul and Susan. Like us, they are both fascinated to find out more about the history of the most important man in their lives.
Ultimately the mystery of what happened to Paul's mother means Spenser again crosses paths with mobster Joe Broz, his inept son Gerry and his right-hand man Vinnie Morris in what proves to be a final reckoning for them all. It is by combining this plot line with the search for Paul's mother as the context in which we discover the secrets of Spenser's past that "Pastime" is elevated to the top rank of Parker's novels. In many ways I consider this novel to be the height of the Spenser series rather than "A Catskill Eagle," because while it is not as epic in scale, "Pastime" is more true to the essence of the character of Spenser and has much more depth. Although the book starts off as a son's search for his mother, ultimately "Pastime" is about fathers and sons. But if you read just one Spenser novel this is not the one to read, because you simply cannot appreciate it unless you have along for the ride from the very start.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Shea HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 3, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This sequel to Early Autumn (1980) truly shows how Spenser (and Parker) have improved over the years.
This is a sharp turn from the last Spenser novel. Instead of annoying women, there's real warmth and personality. Susan starts by getting "Pearl" from her ex-husband. Spenser names her Pearl after a dog of his youth. Paul comes along, wanting to find his mother. We run into Vinnie, who's looking for the mother's boyfriend, Rich, for Joe Broz. Vinnie actually warns Spenser to be careful - Rich is a friend of Joe's kid, Jerry, who they both feel is a "bad apple".
The story is not only about this search, but also about Paul thinking about his past and Susan probing into Spenser's past. We hear about how Spenser's mom died giving him birth, and he grew up with his dad and two uncles in Laramy, WY. They moved out when he was a teenager to Boston. They hunted in Maine, when he had his first drink. They all boxed and taught him how to box. His "only other love" was a high school sweetheart that he was too shy to move on. It's sort of the book to "fill Spenser out" as a person.
Very interesting on many levels. It's good after so long to hear what made Spenser the way he is. You have to ignore minor inconsistancies with what has previously been said about Spenser's past and take this as the truth. But what about "Brenda Loring"? Did he not love her despite dating her for over five years? Ah well.
If you're a Spenser fan, this is not a book to miss!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By John D. Costanzo on November 8, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was another strong effort from Robert Parker. As entertaining as always, there is an added layer of depth to this one as Parker explores the relationships between father and son. There is an interesting parallel between the Spenser/Paul relationship and the Joe Broz/Gerry Broz relationship.
If you are looking for Spenser the "private investigator" you only get about half of the equation. There is plenty of "private" stuff, but not much of an "investigation" as Spenser and Paul go about the relatively easy task of finding Paul's mom who has been missing for a couple of weeks. But you DO get plenty of what we love the most: Spenser wit, Spenser justice, and Hawk, too.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Paul Giacomin, Spenser's surrogate son, comes to Spenser with yet another problem concerning his mother, Patty. She has vanished without a trace, although it appears that she left voluntarily, as there is no sign of foul play. Spenser and Susan Silverman have also become the custodians of Pearl the wonder dog, who formerly belonged to Susan's ex-husband. Spenser agrees to take the case and the trail quickly puts him on a collision course with gangster Joe Broz and his crazy son Gerry. Patty has run off with Rich Beaumont, a thief who has absconded with over a million dollars of Joe's money. After Spenser has a shoot out with Gerry Broz and some of his goons, Hawk becomes involved and protects Patty and Rich. At the end, Joe orders Gerry to kill Spenser, but Spenser has no difficulty in shooting Gerry in the leg first, sparing his life.

What makes this Spenser story an essential one is that we learn a lot about Spenser's past. His father and uncles raised him, and they split the household and parenting tasks equally. Spenser talks about how strong and tough they were and how they loved him so totally. Spenser and Hawk also talk a bit about their past, how they fought in the ring once, and how Spenser first went to Hawk's aid. Susan also talks openly about the love they have for each other, yet never express. We also learn a great deal about the unusual code of honor between people like Spenser and the criminal elements. Vinnie Morris is a hit man for Joe Broz and he may be sent to kill Spenser. And yet, Vinnie and Spenser can talk to each other as equals, openly discussing the "problem" and ways in which they can perhaps resolve it. This is a fundamental element of the plots of future Spenser novels, so it is essential that it be understood.
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