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by Jonathan Kellerman
Ballantine, December 2003
432 pages
ISBN: 0345452569

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

I've been a reader of Kellerman's work for many years and found only a few books worthy of the old wall-throw. A COLD HEART wasn't one of them. While not up to the level of earlier tales, it does move along with a minimum of Alex-angst-and-moaning for which I was grateful. Secondary characters who have more blood in them than Our Favorite Shrink appear often enough to keep the heat on.

Unfortunately Kellerman still insists on changing style when changing viewpoint and that grates. He does manage with Milo, whom he's known for a long time, but with Petra and her new partner, his writing suffers from poorly crafted prose. The slip from first person to third can work, but it's an annoying technique -- at least to me. Jon, just go with third person all through, for goodness sake!

Robin appears briefly but for long enough to be trouble. Alex's new girlfriend seems far too perfect. Look for problems in future novels and a likely return for Robin. Alex is much too sentimental for this not to happen.

The plot was an interesting variation of the standard serial killer scenario, though I wasn't convinced about the motives and felt patronized by the red-herring. Further, a good deal of important action took place off-screen -- acceptable if Alex is the first person viewpoint, but not in this case where styles are switched with great frequency.

Not bad, but far from his best. For old-time Kellerman fans this book is worth the money and time. But I would never recommend it to a newcomer to his work.

Reviewed by Sharon Brondos, February 2004

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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