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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
If you enjoy a good mystery where the plot is about more than someone committing a nasty crime and the good guys chasing the bad guys, give Donald Levin’s Cold Dark Lies a go. In this highly enjoyable and easy read about private investigator Martin Preuss, you will get to know the protagonist not just as an ethical, intelligent sleuth, but as the very loving father of a son with cerebral palsy. Preuss’ devotion and dedication to his son’s welfare doesn’t lessen the tension and mystery surrounding the overdose death of a successful business man in Chapter One, but it gives Preuss a humanity that is often missing in more fast-paced whodunits where the focus is all on plot at the expense of characterization.
When Preuss is first hired by the victim’s sister to look into the unexpected circumstances of Greg Braiden’s demise, Preuss warns her that she might end up shocked, or at least, disturbed by what he uncovers. Over the years, Preuss has learned how little we know even about those closest to us. Many of us live with Cold, Dark Lies, and the dead Mr. Braiden, along with one of his best friends, has plenty of those. So do several of the people Preuss chases up as he tries to determine what actually happened in the sleazy motel room where Braiden was found with a needle in his arm. And when it comes down to the secrets we all live with, well, as Preuss reflects at the end, who of us never tells lies?
Cold Dark Lies is part of a series Levin is writing. His fourth book, The Forgotten Child, is an award-winner. I haven’t read it, but after enjoying Cold Dark Lies as much as I did, I’m curious. There aren’t too many mystery writers who can touch us so deeply with his secondary theme/plot…that of looking after a handicapped child…as beautifully as Levin does in this story. Read it to find out why I feel that way.