Susan Strauss has put off having children with her husband, Dave, because of a secret she’s been keeping. Once she shares it with her sister, fourteen-year-old Lisa, she can also tell Dave, and maybe they can move ahead with plans for a family of their own. But Lisa does not take the news well and runs off into the night to blow off steam. As the hours pass, Susan gets more and more worried. She calls Dave, a New York police detective, and he decides to come home. Lisa’s disappearance eerily mirrors Dave’s only unsolved case—that of a young girl who went missing the year before.
When the police discover signs that Lisa did not leave of her own free will, clues come to light that point to the possibility that Dave’s case and Lisa’s disappearance might be related. Does any of this have to do with Susan’s secret? Will Dave forgive her when he discovers the truth?
One Cold Night redeemed Kate Pepper in my eyes. I adored her first novel, Five Days in Summer, but last year’s Seven Minutes to Noon was a severe disappointment. One Cold Night is a well-plotted, fast moving suspense novel with sympathetic characters and an intriguing mystery. I identified with Susan, Lisa, and Dave in different ways. Their reactions to situations are realistic and will help readers engage with their characters.
There are a couple of twists that will keep readers on the edge of their seats. Just when you think you might have everything figured out, another surprise comes from left field. There are a few things that always give me pause with Pepper’s novels; one is that the police are very forthcoming with everyone—civilians, police in other jurisdictions, etc. I have a difficult time believing that this is realistic. However, the emotions of the characters are true to life, and this makes the story easy to relate to. For a quick mystery read, One Cold Night definitely satisfies.