Spenser and Hawk are at it again, backing each other up, battling the bad guys and bantering in their darkly funny, self-amused style, perfectly voiced here by Joe Mantegna. But all is not hunky-dory: just before Cold Service opens, Hawk was shot and nearly killed and it takes months to get this hardest of the hard-boiled back in fighting shape. Once there, he and Spenser have a growing list of toughs to take out, including some imported members of the Ukrainian mafia and the totally corrupt, homegrown mayor of Marshport, Massachusetts. Revenge, it's said, is best eaten cold, but the heat these two generate makes that all but impossible.

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