In Cold Trail by Janet Dawson, her Northern California detective, Jeri Howard, takes on a personal case: her brother is missing. His medical bracelet is found at a murder scene. The opening line is gripping:
I felt cold and it wasn't only because of the morgue's temperature.
As Howard tracks down her brother, Dawson takes us on a tour of Northern California where wineries are overrunning apple farms and marijuana growers scar the land by razing trees for their operations. Having grown up on an apple farm, I found it pleasant to have apple folk as the underdog heroes and to read praise of how delicious a Red Delicious is, when it's fresh off the tree.
Okay, a side rant: kids won't eat their fruits and vegetables these days because the food is six-months old and selected for types that can be picked early and survive international shipping. I find it unlikely that GMO is health-hazardous, but its use has resulted in profits over taste (and perhaps has added to diabetes).
So, back on the Cold Trail. One of the questions posited early on: why would an adult disappear? Answer number one: he wanted to. He ran off. Answer number two: he is lost and injured or else dead. Answer number three: he is being held against his will.
Through methodical sleuthing Howard comes to accept that third, albeit unlikely, scenario. Then she must still find and rescue him.
The writing is understated; the investigation and details believable, adding to the suspense. Although not a "gotcha" thrilling book, it burns at a steady pace and makes for a fine read.
Janet Dawson's website.
Martin Hill Ortiz is the author of Never Kill A Friend, Ransom Note Press.
|Never Kill A Friend, Ransom Note Press|
Never Kill A Friend is available for purchase in hard cover format and as an ebook.
The story follows Shelley Krieg, an African-American detective for the Washington DC Metro PD as she tries to undo a wrong which sent an innocent teenager to prison.
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