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Cold Service (Spenser Novels) Audio CD – Audiobook, Unabridged

153 customer reviews
Book 32 of 41 in the Spenser Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The newest entry in Parker's long-running Spenser series finds the detective's brother-in-arms, Hawk, struggling back to physical and soulful health after being shot. The novel, which chronicles his and Spenser's attempts to hunt down the Ukrainian mobsters who wounded Hawk and murdered Hawk's client, comprises brittle, often funny conversations, too many ruminations on male pride and a few brief, smartly rendered scenes of violence. But its overall effectiveness is severely tested by narrator and veteran actor Mantegna (Godfather III, Bugsy), who's known for his spot-on portrayals of antiheroes and silky raffish types. Conspicuously absent from the actor's credits, listed on the back of the audio, is any mention of his television incarnation of Spenser, possibly because he didn't fit the role. He was too slight and young for the weight-lifting, middle-aged detective and, more significant here, he doesn't sound like Spenser. His voice is soft, with the hint of an accent that's nowhere in the vicinity of Spenser's Boston. And for some reason, the usually shrewd actor overplays Spenser's irony and sarcasm to the point of parody. When a shady government official refers to a character as "a professional," Spenser's reply is "Aren't we all?" This works on paper, but Mantegna treats the line to a singsong rendition that not only makes the sleuth sound like a hipster wannabe, it stops the action cold. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident.
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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Spenser Novels
  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Random House Audio; Unabridged edition (March 8, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0739318594
  • ISBN-13: 978-0739318591
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1 x 6.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (153 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,529,416 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 72 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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46 of 57 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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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Geno WayneStarts on September 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
As one who has enjoyed the Spenser books in the past, I can't help but wonder why Mr. Parker keeps churning these out if he can't do better than this. Obvious answer: money. His reputation will sell books forever, but one wonders whether an author doesn't have some pride? Can he actually be proud of this work that his fans are buying? Doesn't he owe us more than this? That said, it is clear that I was disappointed with COLD SERVICE. As many others have observed, the plot involves only the planned murders of some thoroughly despicable people, but murders, all the same. Spenser is a bit reluctant, but nonetheless a willing partner to Hawk in the effort. This is a fairly new ingredient in the series, isn't it? AND, surely the racial banter between Spenser and Hawk is long past tiresome. It used to be clever, but now we are "sho nuff" overdosed with it. Please, someone with influence on Mr. Parker, plead with him to spend a little more time on this series, or else abandon it. Sometimes even good old pet dogs like Pearl have to be put out of their misery.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance 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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