by T. Jefferson Parker
Hyperion, April, 2003.
Hardcover, 384 pages.
"That night the wind came hard off the Pacific, an El Nino event that would blow three inches of rain onto the roofs of San Diego. It was the first big storm of the season and overdue. Palm fronds lifted with a plastic hiss and slapped against the windows of McMichael's apartment." So begins Cold Pursuit, T. Jefferson Parker's gripping detective thriller which is set against the background of a cold and rainy San Diego winter. Homicide detective Tom McMichael is called in to investigate the apparent murder of Pete Braga, one of San Diego's wealthiest and most influential citizens. There are no shortage of suspects; as the former Port Commissioner, and owner of a successful car dealership, Braga had plenty of enemies, both professional and personal. McMichael was once wildly infatuated with Braga's beautiful granddaughter, and McMichael's grandfather is widely believed to have delivered the severe beating to Braga's son which left the son with permanent brain damage. All of this makes for some very uncomfortable moments for McMichael during the investigation. Adding to his discomfort is his attraction to the prime suspect: Braga's very hot nurse-companion, whose blasé attitude isn't helping her defense.
T. Jefferson Parker knows noir; he takes a classic murder mystery and gives it a unique styling that fascinates as it entertains. Non-Californians might think of San Diego as a sunny summer destination, which features happy side trips to Seaworld and the San Diego Zoo. But residents will recognize Parker's winter incarnation of San Diego, which can be dark with some torrential downpours. The dialogue flows smoothly, the plot twists and turns and the characters -- whether appealing, pathetic or totally repugnant -- all have that ring of authenticity that is the hallmark of the most skilled writers. If you haven't entered the world of T. Jefferson Parker, by all means head to the bookstore and remedy the situation immediately.
--Claire E. White
Cold Pursuit is available for purchase on Amazon.com
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This review was published in the April-May, 2003 of The Internet Writing Journal.
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