Cold-Blooded Trade

A Nick Tanner Crime Thriller

Fiction - Crime
336 Pages
Reviewed on 04/24/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Cold-Blooded Trade is a work of fiction in the mystery, crime, action, and thriller sub-genres, and it forms part of the Nick Tanner Crime Thriller series. Penned by Kerry K. Cox, the work is best suited to the adult reading audience through the use of explicit language throughout, as well as scenes of violence and sex. In this third installment, we find our innovative U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Special Agent wrapped up in another case that could lead to deeper, darker criminal motives. Busting traffickers in endangered reptiles ought to be a routine operation, but a sudden violent incursion reveals something far more deadly lurking in the backwaters of Mississippi’s swamplands.

Kerry K. Cox knows how to pace a thriller, and this next adventure with the unorthodox, sharp-witted, and enigmatic Nick Tanner leaves no room for boredom with its many twists and turns. I particularly loved the atmosphere and setting of this installment, with the ever-watchful eyes of the swamplands ramping up the tension as danger lurks from every angle, even the depths below. Nick’s development as a solo investigator is interesting to watch in the series due to the unusual challenges that this novel brings him. I found the realism in his dialogue and narrative presentation helped to ground the rest of the story so it always felt believably dangerous and tense. I would highly recommend Cold-Blooded Trade to fans of the existing series and the series in general for crime thriller readers seeking a unique premise and a highly engaging central hero.

Alma Boucher

Cold-Blooded Trade is a crime thriller by Kerry K. Cox. U.S. Special Agent Nick Tanner of the Fish and Wildlife Service is in Mississippi to catch Johnny Chang, an exotic animal trader. Belinda Wei is in charge of Johnny’s recruits and is from the Department of Justice. Belinda has been working undercover for Chang for the last few months. Chang put Belinda in charge of selling endangered turtles to Nick. Nick and Belinda meet Amos Cardwell with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks. Nick, Belinda, and Amos work together to put a stop to the selling of exotic animals. With Belinda’s help, Nick meets Chang’s suppliers with the plan to take over Chang’s business to arrest him. This leads the three to the infamous Queen, a supplier of exotic and extinct animals. Nobody is going to take the Queen’s position of power from her.

Kerry K. Cox has produced an excellent thriller. It is fast-paced and a page-turner. I could not put Cold-Blooded Trade down; I was too afraid to miss out on anything. With all the unexpected twists, I never knew what to expect next. The suspense kept me on the edge of my seat. The events were descriptive, and I was drawn into a world of exotic animal trading. The fighting scenes were vivid; I could hand out a punch or two myself. The characters were brilliant and authentic. Their love for exotic animals and their protection was palpable. The story is well-written and actual events are used. I didn't expect the ending, and it exceeded my expectations.

Shrabastee Chakraborty

As a special agent for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Nick Tanner has successfully busted many animal trafficking operations. This time, he wants to capture a big-time dealer in Mississippi specializing in reptiles. Posing as a buyer, Nick receives a shipment of several threatened species of turtles, only to have a pair of goons snatch them away right after the delivery. As he delves deeper into the matter, it becomes clear that the roots of the operation go way beyond what he had imagined. Will he be able to identify the mastermind behind the smuggling circle? Can Nick thwart them without blowing his cover or risking his life? To learn more, read Cold-Blooded Trade by Kerry K. Cox.

Set in the marshlands of Pascagoula, Mississippi, this story was a treat to my adventure-seeking self. Nick Tanner is a veritable hero with his never-ending compassion for humans and non-humans alike. His bravery, strength of character, and ingenious tactics to capture the criminals commanded my respect. As a devoted father, he tried his utmost to be present in all the important events in his daughter’s life, sometimes ignoring his own grievous injuries. This attribute made him a well-rounded character. Kerry K. Cox exposes the dark underworld of animal trafficking, detailing how the vast network includes not only cutthroat gangsters but also seemingly innocent college kids. The intricate power plays between the opposing forces, each reluctant to cut their opponent the slightest slack, make for a tense read. The legend of an enigmatic, all-powerful smuggler living deep in the marshes casts an aura of mystery. Nick’s journey through the unnavigable swamps infested with deadly snakes and nesting alligators enhances the atmospheric nature. I recommend Cold-Blooded Trade to anyone who appreciates a good thriller.

Rabia Tanveer

Cold-Blooded Trade by Kerry K. Cox is a fantastic crime story with plenty of twists and turns to make you wish for more. It follows Special Agent Nick Tanner of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service as he travels to Mississippi for his next big case. His target is Johnny Chang who is trading exotic animals illegally out of the country. While investigating, he comes in contact with Belinda, an undercover agent who aids Nick and points him in the right direction for his investigation. However, nothing could have prepared Nick to encounter the real danger lurking and hiding behind Chang. The real culprit and the biggest fish in the sea, Francine Foster. The real queen of the trade is ready to do whatever it takes to keep her power and her stronghold. Are Nick and his fellow agents enough to bring the Queen down?

Action-packed, high-intensity, and fascinating, this is the first time I have ever read an illegal animal trade crime story and I loved every moment of it. It was hard for me to decide which of the two antagonists was the toughest nut to crack. But Queen Francine and Chang were dangerous, dark, and unpredictable at many times. Nick is the perfect match for both of them. He is intelligent, knows when to put himself in his opponent's shoes, and strikes when the time is right. Amos and Belinda are the perfect companions. Yes, they were companions and partners and not sidekicks. I loved that Kerry K. Cox added just the right push at the right moments to make sure you had something new to look forward to at all times. Cold Blooded Trade had everything I wished for and a lot more.

Keith Mbuya

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Special Agent Nick Tanner had come so close to nabbing Johnny Chang, a notorious trafficker of reptiles from Mississippi. Posing as a buyer, Nick had successfully arranged for an exchange rendezvous, only to end up being robbed. It turns out Chang was smarter than Nick thought. Nick learns that the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) was one step ahead of him. They had managed to insert Agent Belinda Wei (alias Billi) from the DoJ into Chang’s chain of command. Chang was not the MDWFP’s only problem. There was an even more powerful trafficker of endangered wildlife species dubbed “The Queen”, whose clandestine ways had made her an enigma to the authorities. Teaming up with agent Billi and the MDWFP, will Nick manage to crack Mississippi’s tightly-woven syndicate of wildlife traffickers? Get yourself Cold-Blooded Trade: A Nick Tanner Crime Thriller by Kerry K. Cox to find out.

If you love fast-paced crime thrillers that involve a riveting tale of love, despair, torture, blackmail, money, drugs, undercover operations, daring goons, underdogs, and ruthless crime bosses, Kerry K. Cox’s Cold-Blooded Trade is what you should be looking for. Weaving the most intriguing plot, Cox had me hooked from cover to cover. He dropped me right in the middle of all the action in Mississippi with vivid depictions of the scenes. This page-turner would make a great Hollywood crime thriller movie and I’d love to see it on the big screen. Cox’s innovative style of writing gave the book a polished touch. He kept me on edge with suspense, adventure, humor, thrill, action, and ingenious plot twists. I could not get enough of the witty, intuitive, intelligent, risk-taking Nick Tanner. This is an impressive piece of work and I loved it. I’m on my way to find the other installments in the Nick Tanner crime thriller series.