Reviewed by Darryl Greer for Readers' Favorite
Jennifer Chase’s Dead Cold is the sixth of her Emily Stone thrillers, with a seventh in the pipeline. Emily and her partner, Rick Lopez, are ex law enforcement officers who’ve decided that rather than deal with the humdrum of everyday law enforcement, with its highs and lows — thrills and spills one minute, acute boredom the next — they’d ditch the routine and become 24/7 thrill-a-minute good guys, superheroes almost, tracking down villains, solving crimes, leaving the local cops to claim the glory of yet another mysteriously solved felony. In this episode, a Californian community is beset by a disturbing spike in gruesome homicides. There’s a serial killer out there who not only ensnares and tortures victims, but cuts them into neat sections and displays them in a macabre formation for all to see. The local police are flummoxed, with Detective Danny Starr doing his best, but being thwarted at every turn by one of the cleverest killers he has ever come across. Enter Emily Stone and her partner, Rick, and this time they enlist the assistance of a friend, Jordan. Together the intrepid trio sets out to track down the killer. And this time it’s easier said than done.
Dead Cold is not for those with weak hearts or nervous dispositions. Every page will have your heart pumping so much you’ll feel like you’re running a marathon. The story gets off to a cracking start in the prologue with high speed action from the first line. Jennifer Chase introduces us to real, three-dimensional characters, those with whom you can empathise, those you can love, hate, root for. Chapters aren’t numbered but rather they are headed with a date and time, a device which helps to keep up the frenetic pace throughout the story. The writing is visual so, as you flip through the pages, it will feel like you’re watching a movie and as the story is multi-layered, you won’t lose interest. The concept itself is unique. Most American thrillers involve police officers, FBI agents, spies, or private detectives, not people working clandestinely and happy to allow regular law enforcers to take all the credit. So, if you’re an adrenaline junkie, put on your seat belt and start reading. When you get to the end, if you’re not already familiar with this author’s work, you’ll be taking note of her name and reaching for another Emily Stone adventure.