The One with the Cold Case Cold Beauty

Lissa Marie Redmond, A Cold Day in Hell (to be published Feb. 2018)

I found this title on Netgalley and it perfectly fitted my circumstances: I wanted a no-brainer, no-nonsense police procedural to keep me entertained while filling up boxes (96 in total, but who’s counting, right?).

Lissa Marie Redmond is a recently retired homicide detective of the Buffalo (NY) Police Department: although I don’t know much more about her, I believe from the plot minutiae and cast of characters that she has evidently applied the motto: “write what you know”.

The novel’s main character, Lauren Riley, is a 40-something sensible (yet beautiful!) female police detective in the Cold case unit of the Buffalo Police Department. She usually investigates in the D.A. team, but this time she moonlights as a private investigator on the defense side, because the lawyer has somehow convinced her to meet with the accused and that she could not believe him to be guilty. A high-school student with no previous rap sheet is accused to have strangled a wealthy woman in her car after having had sex with her, but Lauren is unconvinced.

The book read easily and it was quite entertaining, because there are many interesting people to meet. Lauren’s sidekick investigator in the office is the one I liked best, because I got a real feeling of camaraderie, office banter and the general highs and lows of the cold case investigations. But there are also Lauren’s ex-husband, who is cute and charming (but a cheat at heart?), the father of her daughters (not the same guy, this one abusive and stupid), the boss, the D.A., etc. You can tell that Redmond is building the setting for a whole series here, so it’s nice that we get all this background information, even if some stories are clearly left open at the end of this book.

The problem I had with the book is that I wasn’t really surprised by anything. It was good to remind me that trials and investigations take months in reality and don’t have necessary an ideal, clean-cut result, but I wish there would have been a quicker pace and more thrilling revelations.

Also, I don’t get the title and find it rather bland. There’s no real hell in this story, and there are so many other books with the same title. The cover art is also very nondescript and I think the book would deserve a better package. But these reservations weren’t serious enough to spoil the experience and I would be glad to follow Lauren Riley’s next adventures.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the review copy.


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