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Cold Service (Spenser Mysteries) Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Series: Spenser Mysteries
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult; First Edition edition (March 8, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399152407
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399152405
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (135 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #422,857 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From 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-à-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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* With Parker's Spenser series now numbering more than 30 installments, it's no surprise that some of the fast-talking, gourmet-cooking sleuth's fans tend to drop in only now and then to see what's new. Now is definitely the time for a drop-in. The series' best entries all feature a liberal dose of Hawk, Spenser's soft-speaking, big stick-carrying soul mate, and this one is a veritable Hawk showcase. As the tale begins, the heretofore-indestructible Hawk is recovering from a near-death experience: shot in the back while protecting a bookie from the upstart Ukrainian Mob. It's payback time, of course, but not before Hawk nurses himself back to psychic and physical health. Meanwhile, Spenser does a bit of sleuthing on his own, determining that Hawk's assailants are the tip of a Ukrainian iceberg that has stuck its tentacles deep into Boston's underworld. Payback, Hawk style, requires eliminating not just the shooters but also the entire Mob. The action comes in a rush near the end, but the satisfying part here is watching Parker dig deeply into the remarkable friendship between two tough guys constitutionally averse to the whole touchy-feely side of life. "Ain't really your fight," Hawk says. "Yeah," Spenser replies, "It is." "Hawk was quiet for a time, then nodded his head. 'Yeah,' he said. 'It is.'" When he's on his game--and he's on it here--Parker is capable of packing a Hemingway punch into a few brief words and the occasional grunt. Bill Ott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) has long been acknowledged as the dean of American crime fiction. His novel featuring the wise-cracking, street-smart Boston private-eye Spenser earned him a devoted following and reams of critical acclaim, typified by R.W.B. Lewis' comment, "We are witnessing one of the great series in the history of the American detective story" (The New York Times Book Review). In June and October of 2005, Parker had national bestsellers with APPALOOSA and SCHOOL DAYS, and continued his winning streak in February of 2006 with his latest Jesse Stone novel, SEA CHANGE.

Born and raised in Massachusetts, Parker attended Colby College in Maine, served with the Army in Korea, and then completed a Ph.D. in English at Boston University. He married his wife Joan in 1956; they raised two sons, David and Daniel. Together the Parkers founded Pearl Productions, a Boston-based independent film company named after their short-haired pointer, Pearl, who has also been featured in many of Parker's novels.

Parker began writing his Spenser novels in 1971 while teaching at Boston's Northeastern University. Little did he suspect then that his witty, literate prose and psychological insights would make him keeper-of-the-flame of America's rich tradition of detective fiction. Parker's fictional Spenser inspired the ABC-TV series Spenser: For Hire. In February 2005, CBS-TV broadcast its highly-rated adaptation of the Jesse Stone novel Stone Cold, which featured Tom Selleck in the lead role as Parker's small-town police chief. The second CBS movie, Night Passage, also scored high ratings, and the third, Death in Paradise, aired on April 30, 2006.

Parker was named Grand Master of the 2002 Edgar Awards by the Mystery Writers of America, an honor shared with earlier masters such as Alfred Hitchcock and Ellery Queen.

Parker died on January 19, 2010, at the age of 77.

Customer Reviews

The bad news is that it isn't much better.
David R. Eastwood
As in Sudden Mischief, Parker spends WAY too much time analyzing the relationships of Susan and Spenser and Hawk and his girlfriend.
Richard A. Mitchell
The action never stops, and the dialogue will keep you turning those pages.
Mr. Roger Z. Kimble

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 68 people found the following review helpful By E Rice on March 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover
while parker avoids repeating the recuperation scenario, and while the basic plotting and the dialogue and descriptions are extremely good, the book left me tired and annoyed.

the plot, for all its twists, felt rather claustrophobic--all but one of the usual secondary characters appear, for no real reason except to be included for the fans' comfort. part of the resolution was sickeningly sentimental and unrealistic.

i miss the pointed social comments of the earlier books. i'm tired of the now forced nobility and general angst. i'm tired of the constant comments about young women's bodies by every man who appears in the books. i'm tired of the spenser/susan relationship--don't these two ever disagree on anything? and could the woman just once in a while actually eat like a normal person? and maybe gulp at least a glass of water.

i'm really annoyed at the way hawk's relationships are handled. only jewish white women have emotional courage and understanding?

i can enjoy formulaic series, since i can be as attached to series characters as anyone else. but parker is repeating too many of the same parts of the formula in his recent novels without including the development of situations and characters other than the usual cast that make his earlier works more interesting.
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44 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Tucker Andersen VINE VOICE on March 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover
My review title is the epigram which introduces this outstanding novel by Robert Parker and which together with the book jacket illustration summarizes the storyline. However, despite the fact that this thirty-second entry in Robert Parker's Spenser series is as usual told in the first person with Spenser as the narrator, Hawk's and Spenser's usual roles are reversed. In fact, Spenser begins the story with the words "It started without me". With Spenser, we then learn from Hawk, tethered to an IV line and constantly monitored by the staff at the hospital where he is recovering, that he was shot "three times in the back with a big rifle [by a] good shooter [who} grouped all three shots between [the} shoulder blades [but luckily] missed the spine, missed the heart " and thus left Hawk to recover and seek revenge.

Hawk had been hired by a bookie, Luther Gillespie, to protect him after he had been threatened by the Ukranian mob trying to take over his book. Hawk has learned that after he went down they killed Luther, his wife, and two oldest kids, sparing only the youngest son who was in day care and now will be raised by his grandmother. Thus, Hawk knows that after a long and difficult recovery, he will need to not only avenge the attack on him and remove any trace of fear and self doubt which would otherwise remain, but more importantly he can most effectively make whatever amends are possible to Luther for failing to protect his family by somehow insuring the future security of Luther's orphaned young son. As Hawk summarizes the situation to Spenser, "I want to know who they are and where they are. And I want to know they did it. Not think it, know it." To Spenser's admonition that Hawk "won't be ready even if we know who and where", Hawk replies "sooner or later, I'll be ready.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Joseph on March 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I was once a Robert Parker fan but am no more. I'm tired of the same plot, the same characters who never develop, and the same self-satisfied dialog that I assume someone somewhere must find witty.

By the way, am I the only one who wants to hurl when Spenser recounts his relationship with Susan? Here's a suggestion for Robert Parker. Give Spencer something to deal with. Perhaps the death of one of his major characters. (I know who I'd vote for.) Then maybe the Spencer series would take off again.

Incidentally, if you are interested in reading some contemporary detective writers who are actually producing good work, try Michael Connelly or Robert Crais. And, if you want to see why Spencer is so popular, read some of Robert Parker's earlier works like Catskill Eagle or Double Deuce.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance M. Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on December 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover
"Cold Service," Robert B. Parker's thirty-second Spenser novel will inevitably and invariably be compared by fans to the twenty-fourth Spenser novel, "Small Vices." The latter was the pivotal novel where Spenser was gunned down by the shadowy assassin known as the Grey Man. It took Susan Silverman and Hawk a year to put our hero back together again so that he could take steps to even the score with his assailant. This 2005 Spenser novel begins with Hawk in the hospital, having been shot in the back three times while protecting bookie Luther Gillespie. Now it is Spenser's turn to stand by his friend and not only help him rehabilitate but also to help him even the score. However, there are some significant differences between the two similar stories

First, the rehabilitation part is greatly truncated this time around because the wounds are clearly more to Hawk's pride than his body. Second, because we are talking about Hawk we are much more on the outside than when Spenser was in the same situation. Hawk has already been shot and is talking to Spenser in the hospital when this one starts, and while we miss the action at the start Parker provides symmetry by letting us miss the action at the end as well, which tends to suggest that the action is not the point here. Third, there are significant moral dilemmas this time around. Ironically, none of them exist for Hawk but rather for Spenser, who has reservations about the killing that will be involved, and for Cecila, Hawk's current paramour, who is no where near as accepting of the way her man settles accounts as is the lovely Susan.
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