I've been reading the Spenser series since the early '80s. I've been through the whole run several times, in both in print and audio, and I'm still enjoying the Ace Atkins efforts of the past few years. Though Red Harvest remains my single favorite book, Parker is my favorite writer, and the Spenser saga is my favorite series. I've heard everyone else's reasons for why they dropped out at one time or another, and they don't faze me at all. All of which goes to say that I identify as a Spenser superfan.
So how the heck did it get to be 2017 before I found out Parker had written a Spenser short story way back in 1982? Beats me! I just happened to see a short story listed on a Parker bibliography (not identified as a Spenser) and tracked down a copy of its first reprinting, in the 1991 anthology New Crimes 3. To my further embarrassment, I now find it was reprinted yet again in Boston Noir 2: The Classics in 2012.
"Surrogate," which runs 12 pages in the New Crimes 3, begins with a phone call from Brenda Loring, who reports that a man has broken into her home an raped her for the second time in two weeks. Brenda, you may recall, (related at least spiritually to Linda Loring, the woman Philip Marlowe met in The Long Goodbye and married in "The Poodle Springs Story") was the woman Spenser was dating in his first novel, The Godwulf Manuscript, back in 1973. She made only a couple more appearances before being aced out by Susan Silverman.
In "Surrogate," we learn that Brenda has since been unhappily married and divorced. Spenser calls Hawk for help, and, with their usual aplomb, they bring the case to a satisfactory conclusion. No, it's not particularly great stuff, and it's not essential to the canon, but it is a genuine Spenser story, and to a superfan like me, cannot be ignored. This is me not ignoring it.
The story was first published in a signed and numbered edition, limited to 300 copies, in 1982. The book, based on pics and descriptions found online, was a rose-colored hardcover with a gun motif on the boards (you be the judge), and a rose-colored dust jacket (at top) bearing a charcoal drawing of Brenda Loring. Is it ugly? I think so, but YBTJ. 50 of those copies were considered "deluxe," with a leather spine and blue cloth slipcase.
I'm relying on internet pics and descriptions because the regular edition now commands between $400 and $1000, and two folks offering the deluxe job are asking $2500. Superfan yes, superrich no.