God Save The Child is the second Spenser novel written by Robert B. Parker. It was originally published in 1974. Of particular note here is the first appearance of Spenser’s love interest Susan Silverman.
Spenser is hired by the Bartlett family to find their son Kevin that has gone missing. They aren’t sure if Kevin has been kidnapped or has run away but it soon becomes apparent that things are not as they appear. A ransom note appears and based on the circumstances around the note and the failed pickup attempt Spenser begins to realize that quite possibly Kevin (or an accomplice) is behind the entire rouse.
Spenser soon learns that Kevin has taken up residence with a local body builder named Vic Harroway. In Kevin’s eyes Vic is unstoppable – until Spenser shows him otherwise.
I have a very difficult time being objective due to my overwhelming love of anything that Parker writes (especially when it’s Spenser). I really enjoy reading these early Spenser novels. Many Parker fans do not like the character of Susan Silverman for a variety of reasons. That said it’s incredibly interesting to see where the Spenser/Susan dynamic all began. Watching as Spenser begins to assimilate Susan into his life is pure genius on Parker’s part. Brenda Loring is still in Spenser’s life but as soon as he sees Susan things begin to change (and will continue to be changed to this day).
Not nearly as important but certainly noteworthy is the first appearance of Captain Healy. It’s the secondary and tertiary characters that make Parker’s worlds so enthralling. You certainly do not need to read all of the Spenser novels in order (or at all for that matter) but when and if you do you’ll have quite literally YEARS of experience with many of the characters.
Finally I’d like to point out that this is the first time we begin to see Spenser’s “code”. It’s not specifically referenced but there is a scene at that end where Spenser decides not to simply arrest Harroway but to beat him in front of Kevin. He’s both teaching Kevin a lesson and testing himself. This is a trait of Spenser’s that we’ll see many times over in subsequent novels. Pick up a copy of God Save The Child on Amazon today!