The Godwulf Manuscript
Robert B. Parker
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Spenser earned his degree in the school of hard knocks, so he is ready when a Boston university hires him to recover a rare, stolen manuscript. He is hardly surpised that his only clue is a radical student with four bullets in his chest.
The cops are ready to throw the book at the pretty blond coed whose prints are all over the murder weapon but Spenser knows there are no easy answers. He tackles some very heavy homework and knows that if he doesn't finish his assignment soon, he could end up marked "D" -- for dead.
From the Paperback edition.
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This is the beginning of one of the most important characters I've ever read. Throughout the 40 or so books is my childhood and people you'll never forget. And The Godwulf Manuscript is the beginning of them all. On it's own it's a treat and it only gets better from here.