Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Cold by Stella Cameron

Title:  Cold, Introducing Alex Duggins
Author:  Stella Cameron
Published:  August 17th 2013 by Purple Papaya, LLC 
Page Count:  238
Genre:  Thriller/Suspense
Shelf:  Review Copy
Rating: ★★★★

Book Blurb:

You can't outrun the past...

...and tripping over a frosted corpse is a complication that could destroy Alex Duggins' attempt to restart her life. The discovery of a murder victim threatens to unearth some old secrets, including her own.

As the tiny town of Folly-on-Weir braces for a chilling winter and snow blankets Britain's Cotswold Hills, a killer faces a deadline. A terrible crime was believed to be safely hidden, but time and conscience can wear on a secret.

The clock ticks and with the police breathing down her neck, Alex knows she's at the top of the suspect list. Desperate to clear her name and find the real murderer she begins to peel back the layers of deception that have long-concealed one of the town's darkest secrets. But time is also running out for a killer who has nothing left to lose. What's one more murder?

Someone intends that Alex will be the next snow-covered body found in the beautiful hills above the town.


How long had it taken to change a life forever? A minute, ninety seconds – while he listened, barely understanding, while two men destroyed his own young innocence, and allowed another child to die?

Nothing was ever the same after that day. All the days and years that followed had led to this night of hope and fear.

“Come on boy, catch up,” Dominic called. “We’ll freeze if we don’t keep moving.”

The only reason he could see the dog at all in the darkness was that his dark gray fur showed up against a thickening carpet od snow underfoot, and the falling flakes that grew heavier with each moment.

Brother Dominic stopped and watched Bogie approach like a trotting miniature show horse in slow motion, lifting each foot as if it burned.

“Okay, we’ll keep each other a bit warmer.” He swept up his little grey buddy and tucked him inside an old tweed coat. “Now we’ve got to get a move on. This is a borrowed coat and we need to give it back to Percy.”

Talking to his dog was an indulgence Dominic reserved for when they were alone. He smiled at the thought. They were rarely as alone as they were in the middle of the night, on this hill in the Cotswold Hills that were so spectacular in the daylight, yet so pitiless when every step was an act of faith.

` He had pulled the hood on his habit up to cover his head and ward off some of the cold. The old, brown cloth was already soaked and started to freeze.

Silence seemed absolute. Except when a gust of wind sent frigid, leafless branches raking together.

Not a single vehicle had passed on the narrow road that forked away from the tiny village below and rose to traverse the hill. There was a scatter of farms and houses up here, all with feeder tracks from the road. But any people out there were probably tucked up sleeping by now.

You couldn’t see any buildings form the road.

Bogie scrabbled closer and pressed his wet nose to Dominic’s neck.

The wind picked up, drove straight at him, and he leaned against it to push his way on, and the snow drove into his face and crammed inside his collar.

He crossed his hands over the dog and pushed his bare hands beneath his arms.

This has to be done.

Old wrongs must be put right, lies dispelled quickly for the sake of peace, his own but more importantly, the others involved. His challenge was to bring secrets into the light without harming the innocent.

My Review:

This novel was a shocker right from the 1st paragraph. Cameron took off running and the suspense didn’t let up right until the very end. I found myself always guessing until I came to the ‘I didn’t see that coming’ ending. Cameron has definitely mastered the mystery/suspense genre, keeping her story fast paced without having to resort to mass amounts of death, dismemberment, and explosions to keep the attention of her audience.

Through her vivid and uniquely developed writing style Cameron is able to bring her world to life in the most natural way. Her understated descriptions bring a calm and natural air to this community amidst a time of crisis. As a reader you are able to experience this world in an all-encompassing way through the eyes of the various characters.

Cameron has created some very captivating and insightful characters for this novel. Both the main characters and the supporting cast are extremely well developed. They all play counterpoint to each other to create an entire community, rather than a one sided cast.

All in all this was a very unique murder mystery/suspense novel that kept me captivated and guessing right till the last page.

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About the author:

Stella Cameron is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author. With over fourteen million copies of her books in print, Cameron is now turning her pen to mysteries and independently publishing COLD, Introducing Alex Duggins. She draws on her English background for this new, already critically acclaimed mystery series. Atmospheric, deeply character and relationship driven, COLD reveals the power of old secrets to twist the present. Cameron's reputation for using her backgrounds to add tension and allure to her stories is heightened again.

Cameron is the recipient of the Pacific Northwest Achievement Award for distinguished professional achievement and for enhancing the stature of the Northwest Literary community. She lives in Washington with her husband Jerry, her Papillon Millie, black cat Zipper, and a cheeky little tabby named Jack.

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