Saturday, June 12, 2021

Review of "Cold Service," by Robert B. Parker

 Review of

Cold Service, by Robert B. Parker ISBN 0425204286

Five out of five stars

 Hawk is shot and plots revenge

  This story opens with Hawk in the hospital with serious gunshot wounds. While the wounds are no longer life-threatening, he is very weak and faces a long period of recovery. Hawk was hired to protect a bookie that was being squeezed and did not want to pay. The culprits are an extremely ruthless Ukrainian gang that will stop at nothing. After taking Hawk out, they killed the bookie and several members of his family as a warning to others not to defy them. The Ukrainians are trying to move in on the black-controlled organized crime elements, which means that they are acting against Tony Marcus.

 This leads to an odd pseudo-alliance where Spenser and Hawk are cooperating with Tony Marcus and Vinnie Morris is included. Marcus is not entirely truthful in stating his purpose, a ruse that Spenser and Hawk immediately identify. Quirk provides some aid as he hates what the Ukrainians are doing and would like to see them stopped.

 The most interesting character that is part of the alliance is the Gray Man, an extremely efficient and intelligent hired killer that has opposed Spenser in the past. He is a man more than the equal of Spenser, in another story Gino Fish tells Spenser that he did not believe that Vinnie Morris could take him alone. It is unusual to hear the two men state that there is no hard feelings, even though significant blood has been spilled between them.

 It is a story that delves deep into the psyche of Hawk as he makes the slow comeback from near death so that he is at the point where he can hunt the men that foiled him at his job. Hawk is patient in his work, backed by Spenser and others, he manages to take down the Ukrainian gang and achieve a form of justice for the surviving member of the bookie’s family. Susan is there to provide the analysis of Hawk’s desire to even the score.

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