15 Best Spenser Books In Order To Read [2023]

Spenser is a popular crime series written by multiple authors. The series was first written by American mystery writer Robert B. Parker and later on, he became the lead protagonist for the novel series written by Ace Atkins. The first book in the series came out in 1973 and there are a total of 40 novels in the series by Robert B. Parker and 9 by Ace Atkins.
Spenser is a private investigator who is also an ex-boxer and ex-cop. The character is based in Boston, Massachusetts. He also has a friend, Hawk, an African-American who is a “Gun for Hire” and he lives by his own code.
The series has been well receiving by people who liked to read crime thrillers and detective novels. The series has been adapted into TV series that run from 1985 to 1988. A Netflix movie is also inspired by the character has been released in 2020.
Overall the series has received love and appreciation from the readers and if you are also thinking about reading the novel series then you are going to experience the best detective series ever.
The only problem people face when it comes to reading a novel series is reading them in the order of their publication date or chronological order. Since there are so many books, one can easily get confused when it comes to picking the books in order.
So here we are going to list down all the Spenser books in order so that you can read the series in the right chronological order. Go ahead and take a look at the Spenser books in the order.

Best Spenser Books In Order

1. The Godwulf Manuscript

the spenser books in order

The Godwulf Manuscript is the first book in the Spenser series that have been written by Robert B. Parker. The book was published in 1973 and it introduces us to the magnificent Spenser.
Spenser has just earned his degree in the School of hard knocks and now he is all set to start his new life. He is more than excited when a Boston university hires him to find a rare and stolen Manuscript. In the name of clue all he has is a radicle student with four bullets in his chest.
The case seems simpler because the prints of a blond girl are all over the murder weapon but is this that simple? I don’t think so! Let’s read the very first Spenser book and find out what Spenser is capable of doing!

2. God Save the Child

the spenser books in order to read
God Save the Child is the second book in the Spenser series and this one was published in 1974. The story moved forward and we get to know a little bit more about the character as he is on a new case and a new adventure as well.
The story is set in Appie Knoll, it is a small and happy town where nothing bad happens and it seems like a perfect place to raise children as well. But somehow a fourteen-year-old Kevin Bartlett has been disappeared. Everyone thinks he has run away until a ransom note appears. It doesn’t take long for Spenser to see the whole picture, a family seeking revenge, odd friends, and everything abnormal going around the kid that leads to the kidnapping.
The kid’s life is at stake and the only clue Spenser has is Mr. Muscle, who can only talk via his fists. Will Spenser would be able to understand what he is saying? Will he be able to save the kid before it’s too late? It’s a perfect thriller and crime/detective novel that would make you a fan of Spenser if you are not already.

3. Mortal Stakes

best spenser books
Mortal Stakes is the third Spenser book in the series and it was published in 1975. The book yet again takes us to the new adventure of Spenser as he is back again, being all funny, smart, witty, and sentimental.
This case is not very ordinary, and it’s not about a big crime or a murder, it’s about Blackmail! Someone is blackmailing the talented pitcher and his wife. Spenser has to do everything in his power to solve the case and that too without jeopardizing the pitcher’s career or his marriage.
To solve the case, Spenser has to go to several places, New York Warehouses, Boston Loan Shark, to the woods, and more. The novel is a perfect combination of a perfect detective series involving love and mystery.

4. Promised Land

best spenser books in order
Promised Land will take forward the story of Spenser where he is all set to enter his new office. A Businessman, Harv Sheperd approach Spenser and asks for his help. He wants Spenser to search for his runaway bride. Although the case is much deeper than just finding a runaway bride. As the story unfolds, Spenser finds out how deeper this case is and how much trouble the businessman is in.
Readers would find out about the tough yet cerebral character of Spenser as the story unfolds new sides of him.

5. The Judas Goat

list of spenser books in order
This time Spenser is in London and the story would take you to one of the biggest cities in the world. But he is not gone there to see the Queen or admire the beautiful city, but he is on a mission to track down a bunch of bombers. These bombers are capable of doing so many cruel things and they would certainly not hesitate to destroy the city. They have already blown away his client’s wife and his children.
He is all set to catch them and kill them, if necessary. But odds are not in favor of Spenser. There are nine killers to catch and there is just one Spenser! Of course, he has Hawk, his buddy, and sidekick with him to help out! The story is heart-pounding and very exciting and you would want to finish it in one go!

6. Looking for Rachel Wallace

the spenser books list
Rachel Wallance is a controversial writer who is never afraid to speak her mind and express her views on things. Although her honesty and carefree attitude are not very charming to a lot of people and that is why she has made a lot of enemies as well. These enemies are not only speaking against her but also treating her life as well.
Since her life is in danger, she has hired Spenser to protect her. Spenser, who is a man of code of honor and who always plays by his rules is not a fan of Rachel Wallace. She, too, thinks his code of honor is obsolete. This is the reason they can’t see eye to eye and Spenser ends up being fired.
After a while, Spenser finds out that Rachel has vanished and no one has a clue where she is. He is now worried and putting everything on the line to find Rachel Wallace. But will he find her? Is she alive or those life-threatening enemies have finally killed her?
It would be interesting to see how Spenser would find Rachel Wallace or at least what happened to her!

7. Early Autumn

spenser best books
Early Autumn is a story about a twisted family, not that they don’t get one another and keeps fighting, but it’s on the next level. A father has hired people to kidnap his own son and the mother has reached to Spenser and wants him to find her son!
Spenser knows it’s not an ordinary case and he has to go by his own rules and his own methods. With a case on his hands, Spenser is all set to carry out a kidnapping of his own and teach 15 years old kid the art of survival. How all this would play out and how Spenser would be able to solve this case and understand this wicked family is worth reading.

8. A Savage Place

best series of spenser books
A Savage Place features Candy Sloan. A young TV reporter in Los Angeles. Spenser is hired to be her bodyguard as she might be facing some threats to her life. Candy is investigating a corrupt studio where all the illegal activities are taking place. This could be the biggest scam and people behind this would certainly want to stop Candy from doing so.
The story goes forward and she and Spenser are playing an act to save their life and complete the mission. But would it be worth it or it would cost Spenser his life?

9. Ceremony

spenser books series
This time the story is about a 16-year-old, April Kyle. She has been disappeared and she might be in very big trouble as well. She was last seen in Combat Zone, a place that is popular for prostitution and people who seek to have sexual intercourse for sale.
Spenser is worried and all he wants to do is to find the little girl before it’s too late. But it’s not going to be a simple case. It’s too tangled and Spenser knows it better that things can go south any might. He has to be extra smart and careful otherwise he would be in trouble too.

10. The Widening Gyre

best spenser books to read
The Widening Gyre is the next Spenser book in order. This time the Senate candidate is asking for help from Spenser. He is all set to be the new senator but there are some issues regarding his wife that can be proven to be an obstacle in his dream of becoming a senator.
His wife is very pretty and charming, a blond with a cute smile that can steal anyone’s heart. But she has some troubles regarding sex and drugs. Someone has managed to tape her weak points and has threatened to use those videotapes against her. Now it’s all up to Spenser to find out who the blackmailer is and why he is doing what he is doing.

11. Valediction

best spenser books in reading order
A hitman is all set to kill Spenser and he is finding ways to put a bullet in his head. But Spenser is not afraid of him as he is not afraid to death or e en to kill someone who would pose a threat to the people he loves and cares about.
A young dancer has been kidnapped by a religious sect and he would stop at nothing to find her. But little did he know, this case would bring troubles into his personal life.

12. A Catskill Eagle

best spenser books series
A Catskill Eagle is a story about Spenser’s girlfriend Susan. She is going out with another rich man as well as a criminal. So when Susan is out for a long time and no one knows where she is, Spenser and Hawk get worried. They are all set to find her but things are about to get uglier.

13. Taming a Sea-Horse

best spenser book
Taming a Sea-Horse is yet again introducing April Kyle, a teenager prostitute. Spenser is taking a lot of interest in her and it leads him to a series of crimes and new characters that are no good for anyone.

14. Pale Kings and Princes

best spenser books in order
The story takes place in a small town in England that is not known for drugs or murder. But an investigator finds both and that’s when he calls Spenser and his team to find out the truth about the incident.

15. Crimson Joy

spenser books in order
This time, Spenser is facing a serial killer in town. The killer is leaving a red rose on the dead body of each woman he kills. The killer is also posing a threat to every woman in the town including Susan’s life! Spenser must do everything in his power to put an end to the murders and capture the killer.


So these are the Spenser books so that you have been looking for. Although people say that one can easily pick any of the books and read it as a standalone, but if you are all about giving your full time and attention to read the series then you should be reading the books in order. This way you would be able to see the character development of the lead characters of the books and their background stories which shape their personality in the present time.

Leave a Comment