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Cold Service (Spenser Series #32)

Cold Service (Spenser Series #32)

3.2 29
by Robert B. Parker

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When his closest ally, Hawk, is beaten and left for dead while protecting a bookie, Spenser embarks on an epic journey to rehabilitate his best pal, body and soul. But that means infiltrating a ruthless mob—and redefining his friendship with Hawk in the name of vengeance...

“Cold Service moves with the speed of light.”—Orlando Sentinel


When his closest ally, Hawk, is beaten and left for dead while protecting a bookie, Spenser embarks on an epic journey to rehabilitate his best pal, body and soul. But that means infiltrating a ruthless mob—and redefining his friendship with Hawk in the name of vengeance...

“Cold Service moves with the speed of light.”—Orlando Sentinel

Editorial Reviews

Paula L. Woods
Some quietly powerful scenes between Spenser and Hawk show the depth of their long-term friendship, and equally thoughtful exchanges between Spenser and Susan reveal an enduring and enviable love. All this in a package that features writing as lean and seductive as poetry -- plus Hawk dishing up his own brand of retribution -- makes Cold Service one hot mystery.
— The Washington Post
Library Journal
Spenser cares for badly injured buddy Hawk, then goes after the Ukrainian mob that nearly killed him. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly
Parker/Spenser fans will remember Small Vices (1997), wherein the Boston PI was shot nearly dead and his sidekick Hawk nursed him back to health. This strong new Spenser novel flips that scenario, with Hawk shot and Spenser helping him first to get better, then to take revenge. Their targets are Boots Podolak and his army of Ukrainian thugs who run the black/Hispanic Boston satellite city of Marshport. Their goal is more complicated than just vengeance, though. When Boots's henchmen shot Hawk, they also killed the man he was protecting-a rival of Boots-as well as the man's wife and two of his three children, and now Hawk wants not only to destroy Boots and his operation but to channel millions of Boots's money toward the surviving child. To get at Boots, Spenser and Hawk tap on several series regulars, most notably black gangster Tony Marcus, who is doing business with Boots, and the Gray Man, the assassin who nearly killed Spenser in Small Vices; meanwhile, Susan, Spenser's psychiatrist girlfriend, dispenses sage advice, but stays mostly in the background. The novel features a complicated plot, numerous tough guys and plenty of tension that builds to an (interestingly) off-page mano- -mano shootout between Hawk and Boots. This isn't Parker's best, nor his best Spenser, and the novel has a slightly rushed quality, but it's sincere, visceral entertainment that will more than satisfy the author's fans. Agent, Helen Brann. (Mar. 3) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Eight years after Spenser was shot and left for dead (Small Vices, 1997), it's Hawk's turn to seek revenge on his would-be killers. The Ukrainian mob, branching out from Brooklyn to Beantown, wants to horn in on Luther Gillespie's racket, so the bookie hires Hawk as his bodyguard. Result: Gillespie dead, most of his family ditto, Hawk shot three times in the back. Naturally, this will not stand; as soon as Hawk's back in shape several months later, he's eager to go after the shooters. Identifying five Ukrainian suspects is a snap, but when the DA's office bobbles the case, Hawk and Spenser are left on their own, except for the sympathy of Susan, Spenser's favorite shrink; Cecile, Hawk's favorite thoracic surgeon; and the underhanded but heartfelt support of the Boston Police Department and the FBI. The shooters, it seems, are protected by Boots Podolak, the mayor and unofficial owner of Marshport, whose move into Boston is fully though unhappily supported by Massachusetts East mob kingpin Tony Marcus. Hawk's problem, then, is to eliminate the button men and provide a trust fund for the surviving Gillespie boy without ruffling too many feathers of the mob, the Ukrainians, or their overlords, heroin-smuggling terrorists from Afghanistan (don't ask). If this unusual diplomatic brief sounds fearfully complicated and well outside Hawk and Spenser's usual field of expertise, don't worry. It's nothing that can't be resolved by the condign application of baleful glares, well-chosen handguns, and a concentration of man's-gotta-do wisdom that's high even for this celebrated series (Bad Business, 2004, etc.). Somebody seems to have misplaced a reel between the High Noon build-up and the Fistful ofDollars finale. The testosterone-laced attitudinizing is sharp and often compelling, though no substitute for an honest attempt to surmount difficulties that melt away instead at a touch of Spenser and Hawk's magic hands. Agent: Helen Brann/Helen Brann Agency

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Spenser Series , #32
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.27(w) x 7.42(h) x 0.89(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Robert B. Parker was the author of more than fifty books. He died in January 2010.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
September 17, 1932
Date of Death:
January 18, 2010
Place of Birth:
Springfield, Massachusetts
Place of Death:
Cambridge, Massachusetts
B.A. in English, Colby College, 1954; M.A., Ph. D. in English, Boston University, 1957, 1971

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Cold Service (Spenser Series #32) 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
S4Hfan More than 1 year ago
I loved it... I am and have always been a die=hard Spenser Novel's fan... Some of his books in the so long ago time span in the list of the novels have not been up to his regular standard, but Cold Service was!!! I highly recomend this book and novel if you are a long time Spenser fan! Great read!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
If you're into super-macho, monosyllabic navel-gazing, this is the book for you. I got through it, wondering how Parker would wind it up, and found the ending as disappointing as the rest of it. (I got to the last page thinking, 'Huh?') I don't know how Parker could write some of this pop-psychological stuff without rolling on the floor, laughing. As Hawk's girlfriend said, 'Spare me!' This is definitely not Parker's best -- not even close.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read all the Spenser novels and am currently reading them in chronological order for the first time. I made an exception and read both School Days and Cold Service because they were new. I was shocked by the shallowness of the book, the totally unrealistic plot, and the changes in Susan's role as well as Hawk's. My first thought was 'Who are you and what have you done with Spenser's author?' Needless to say, this one rates a 'pass' on my list of Spenser novels to re-read two years from now when I once again delight in reading the series. There is only one other Spenser novel that I didn't care for (Pale Kings and Princes). If you loved that one, you can probably disregard my review. However, I highly recommend checking out the first few pages before purchasing it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read Robert Parker for years and usually love his stuff. His early books are the best. I like the Jesse Stone and Sunny Randall characters,too. But this book was a bore, the plot thin. I just didn't care what happened. I thought it was just me, but my husband also read the book, and agrees it is hardly up to Parker's standards. Left me, um, cold...
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was really disappointed this isnt one of his best. If you took all the curse words not much left. Plus who can say all those names.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read many Spenser books in the past, and this was the worst by far. Spenser and Hawk have become almost like invincible cartoon superheroes, and every couple of chapters Susan chimes in to explain 'the code' between the men - otherwise she has no function whatsoever. The only Parker book I'll read now will be the Jesse Stone series and least he's almost like an actual human.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I agree with other reviewers that this was not Mr. Parker's best; between the Ukranian mob and the Boston bad guys, it became confusing at time; however, when it comes to dialog, Parker is the master! Even if you skip over the narrative and just read the dialog, it's worth it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found the book boring and very difficult to follow. It did not hold my interest. Usually I cannot put Mr Paker's books down. This one was hard to pick up at times. Won't stop me from reading whatever else this master writes.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As an avid fan of Robert B. Parker, whom I consider a master of the genre, I was terribly disappointed in this book. It won't stop me from buying his next one, but this one won't pick up any new readers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was not Robert Parker's best Spencer novel. It was slow reading for me, boring a lot of the time. Also there was too much time spend on the 'lingo' talk between Hawk and Spencer. BUT I will say if you pay attention to all said throughout the novel, then you will see that there is more complexity to the ending than meets the eye.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Parkers newest has all the characters Parker fans have grown to love,on both sides of the legal 'fence'. And this time Parker takes you deeper inside the 'psyche' of both Hawk and Spenser, as Hawk learns (maybe for the first time) what it's like to be afraid. This newest 'Spenser' novel does even more to blur the line between good and bad, as Spenser and Hawk (once again) step over the legal 'limit line' to, this time,avenge an attack on Hawk. This is a good 'Spenser' story, with alot going for it. It is, however, not one of Parkers best.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Most of the time Spencer sits around and talk and talks and talks. Lots of charters? yes. Lots of dead peope? You Bet. Still, the worse Spencer ever? I admit it. I am a huge fan and I even like that last Sunny Randall book, but this one...! Parker finds a WMD, He kills all his readers through comatoses.
Guest More than 1 year ago
An excellent book, as are most of the Spencer novels. I think there was a little too much of Susan and her need to over analize things. She redeamed herself in SMALL VICES, but she can annoy the hell out of me sometimes.