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Cold Pursuit
by T. Jefferson Parker
Review by Tina Morgan

"That night the wind came hard off the Pacific, an El Nino event that would blow three inches of rain onto the roofs of San Diego."

I have to say that as opening lines go this one did not hook me at all. My first thought as a writer was, that's just a creative way of saying, 'It was a dark and stormy night'. I put the book down.

However, my husband picked it up and read it. In one day. He told me that I didn't give the book a fair chance and that it kept him guessing until the very end. That's exceptionally high praise from a man who's always known who did it by the middle of every mystery he's ever read. It convinced me to read past the first line, and to put aside my concerns about the suspect's name. Sally Rainwater. Rainwater? In a book that starts with a storm? To say I was reading the book with a high degree of cynicism is an understatement. It would take a lot of talent to pull me into this story.

Mr. Parker pulled it off. He soon had me wanting to read more and wondering just who had killed old Pete Braga. The list of suspects was formidable. Pete wasn't the nicest man who ever lived. He'd killed a man in 1952 and walked away with a ruling of self-defense. Even the lead detective on the case had reasons for hating him. The man Pete had killed was McMichael's grandfather.

Pete had connections in several major financial circles as well as owning a prosperous car dealership. He'd disowned several of his relatives and was considering leaving most of his fortune to Sally Rainwater.

The plot was intriguing and the setting was real. Characterization of the protagonist was well developed and the antics of Grothke Sr., Braga's attorney were a much-appreciated lift to the mood of this dark tale.

Perhaps the biggest problem I had with the story was the characterization of Sally Rainwater. When she and McMichaels become a couple I'm a little surprised. McMichaels feelings are clear but Sally's are ambiguous. The sex scene feels gratuitous and it isn't until much later in the book that the scene is made essential to the plot.

The subplots twist and turn and make this crime noir novel an entertaining read.

Cold Pursuit ranks   * * * * stars.

Published by Hyperion, www.hyperionbooks.com Format: Print, 360 pages. ISBN: 0-7868-6805-8

Rating Scale:
* * * * * = Un-put-downable, excellent reading!
* * * * = Good value, interesting reading.
* * * = Had potential, but could have been better.
* * = Slow, difficult to read, could have been improved.
* = Imminently forgettable.


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