Finished: The Coldest Mile by Tom Piccirilli, 2009, 9780553590852.
At the end of The Cold Spot Chase was busted and broken after a violent showdown against his wife's killers. His grandfather, Jonah, had killed his own girlfriend after she shot the sociopathic Jonah in an attempt to escape him. During Cold Spot Chase had learned Jonah and the young girlfriend had a two year old daughter living with the girlfriend's sister in Florida. Chase is intent on rescuing the girl - literally - from the crime life Jonah had raised Chase in. Chase also wants answers on whether Jonah murdered Chase's pregnant mother when Chase was only eight years old (or about eight, I'm not sure on that).
A handful of weeks after the Cold Spot showdown Chase has gotten a job as a driver with a low-rent crime family in NJ whose patriarch is dying of cancer. Chase needs the cash from a score to finance a trip to Florida. Turns out the crime family wants a chauffeur, not a driver. Chase takes the job anyway and finds that the family is falling apart without the dying dad's leadership. Chase figures the sister is only biding time until killing her brother to take control and when Chase rejects her sexual advances he knows she will never forget it. She doesn't. Chase bides his time as chauffeur until he gets the chance at about $50k and heads south.
Chase is deeply distracted. His dead wife is always on his mind along with his dead parents and Jonas' connection with them. Chase's unfading desire for the child he and his wife were unable to conceive helps drive the rescue of his two-year-old aunt. His suicidal impulses have made him impulsive and sloppy.
Chase hears Jonah has fled to Florida ahead of him. Unable to contact him through the usual means Chase tries breaking into the local crime ring to find the one guy, Dex, who he knows is working with Jonah. Things happen: people are beaten, aunt is kidnapped and her caretakers and some children are murdered, Chase shows his ingenuity and toughness, Chase maybe makes a friend, Chase loves more cars, Chase finds Jonah, Chase makes mistakes, Chase is re-injured, crime family shows up, a sequel is set-up with Chase and Jonah out to get girl back.
The plotting and action are all good. Jonah is a different, more detailed, version of Parker. Seeing Jonah through Chase's eyes is great reading; you get what a soulless and conscienceless guy he is.
The real meat and pleasure of the novel is your introduction into the crime world of Chase and Jonah. Chase's intuitive and practiced skill at reading people and situations are great. Chase grew up from age ten until 18 as a full-time crook with Jonah. Chase learned from the best professional thieves, con men, and killers around. Chase thinks and acts like a crook and Piccirilli gives a first person view of it all. You meet the ruthless pros, the wannabes, the hopped up drug dealers, the skanky whores and their would-be tough guy pimps. Piccirilli is brilliant in bringing that underworld setting to vivid and dangerous life.