The Coldest Blood

Jim Kelly, Author . St. Martin's Minotaur $24.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-312-36478-6

Kelly's well-written if convoluted fourth outing for Cambridgeshire journalist Philip Dryden (after 2005's The Moon Tunnel ) opens with a gruesome scene at the Dolphin Holiday Camp in August 1974, then shifts to a record-breaking cold snap 31 years later and a terminally ill man's murder. Dryden gets embroiled in the mystery by reporting on another death, that of landscape painter Declan McIlroy, ostensibly due to the cold. But the two corpses share a common past, and the search for the truth puts Dryden on the trail of a bizarre murder case dating back to that summer in 1974. Kelly's prose is insightful, but the complexities of his story can be confusing. Dryden's backstory—his invalid wife, Laura, is recovering from a coma; refusing to drive himself, he relies on the delightfully quirky cabbie Humph—may be challenging for newcomers to decipher. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 11/20/2006
Release date: 01/01/2007
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 341 pages - 978-0-14-101864-5
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-4299-9788-1
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