Cold Pursuit
T. Jefferson Parker
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Cold Pursuit
T. Jefferson Parker
416 pages
October 2004
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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"Nothing is colder than bad blood." This statement, quoted on the jacket of T. Jefferson Parkerís new book, Cold Pursuit, perfectly sums up the relationship between the McMichaels and the Bragas. It all started in the 1950s, when Franklin McMichael was killed by Pete Braga aboard Bragaís tuna boat. Days later, Bragaís thirteen-year-old son Victor was beaten into imbecility, allegedly by Franklinís son Gabriel. Now, years later, Gabrielís son and homicide detective Tom McMichael is still haunted by the decades-old feud. Ironically, he has just pulled the case of old Pete Bragaís murder. The eighty-four-year-old was clubbed to death in his own home and found by his caretaker, twenty-eight-year-old Sally Rainwater. When Tom begins his investigation, he is immediately drawn to Sallyís beauty and charisma. Unfortunately, sheís also the top suspect.

As Tom begins uncovering layer upon layer of Peteís life, he falls for Sally Rainwater and discovers that Peteís enemies number more than just the McMichaels. Thereís Peteís family, including Tomís old flame Patricia, who stand to lose millions of dollars if Pete went through with his threats to cut them out of his will in favor of Sally Rainwater. Thereís the Tunaboat Commission, angry with Pete for his support of the new airport. And then thereís the conspiracy that is eating up the police forceóa young detective was found in a hotel room with three hundred thousand dollars in cash, drugs and two prostitutes. Was Pete mixed up in this mess as well?

The knotty mystery is nicely complemented by the character development of Tom McMichael. While he is a competent and even hard-nosed detective, he is also a dedicated family man who loves his son Johnny and a man with a heart who falls for a suspect. The writing is taut and moves along at a nice pace with plenty of action and twists to keep you turning the pages. Even the most seasoned mystery readers will find it difficult to predict the ending before the author chooses to reveal it.

With the easy-to-identify-with main character and excellent writing, Cold Pursuit is an enjoyable book from a master of crime fiction. Recommended to all lovers of police procedurals and murder mysteries.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Angela McQuay, 2004

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