In Robert Parker's latest paperback, Cold Service, bookie Luther Gillespie hires ever-lovin' mercenary Hawk to protect him from the emerging Ukranian mob presence in the Mass town of Marshport. For reasons Parker doesn't explain, the usually preternaturally-aware Hawk gets shot in the back and his client is killed.
Similar to Spenser's recovery in Small Vices, Hawk takes a year (50 pages in Parkerland) to heal and get back into shape. Then, with help from Spenser, Vinnie Morris, and the enigmatic Gray Man, Hawk takes revenge—not only on the five Ukranians who attacked him, but on the thuggish mayor of Marshport, ahem, Boots Podolak.
This is the deepest Parker has gone inside Hawk's head. We still don't get his inner thoughts, but the tone of the story is very harsh and singleminded as Hawk is, with Spenser simply acting as backup. As usual, Hawk never outwardly doubts his competence. We know that he will eventually be back to full strength and the bad guys will get theirs. Because we know all this, the book seems very padded, very slow to the punch, despite Parker's lowest page count in years.