Although this is is the second in a series featuring DC Cat Kinsella, and it’s recommended that the first book, Sweet Little Lies, be read first, Stone Cold Heart can easily be read as a standalone as the reader is provided with enough background information.
The book starts off with Joseph Madden, Cat’s barista seemingly flirting with her. She’s not keen on having to find a new place to get her daily coffee fix, but when he tells her that he knows she’s a cop and needs to confide in her, she’s intrigued. He tells her that his wife, Rachel has been threatening him. However, the threats are so subtle and he can’t really give her more information than that. Cat figures he’s being paranoid or just downright weird and leaves it at that.
A few months later Cat and her partner – the absolutely adorable Seargent Luigi Parnell (I don’t know if you’re allowed to call a cop ‘adorable’ but I don’t care – he’s all that!) are called to a murder scene. A young Australian girl, Naomi Lockhart has been found dead in her apartment. There’s no forced entry, so the assumption is that she knew her killer. The team, ably headed up by DCI Kate Steele head in the direction of Naomi’s boss, and discover a bizarre, secretive and wholly unlikeable family labyrinth, eventually leading them to … Joseph Madden, the boss’s brother-in-law. An ‘a-ha’ moment for me, as I was really starting to wonder where that random bit of information was going to fit into the puzzle.
The convoluted plotting is excellent, keeping the reader hooked at all times. The banter, and camaraderie between this fabulous crime-cracking team is fast and witty and makes for thoroughly enjoyable reading. Not your normal police procedural with competitive in-fighting taking over and obscuring facts and leads. I reckon if you’re looking to join the police force, you’d want to join a team like this! There’s sensitivity towards the victim and her family, and an overall empathy towards the case itself, as well as each other.
Cat’s past is an interesting backstory, and her personal relationships and secrets that she is doing her utmost to keep hidden also add to the sense of tension. But Frear is careful to ensure that this never overtakes the primary storyline, keeping it simmering on the back-burner.
4 stars for this one – and I will definitely back-track and read Sweet Little Lies before book 3 is released!
Caz Frear’s first novel, Sweet Little Lies has sold over 230,000 copies and has been sold into 10 languages including the U.S. It has also been optioned for TV by Carnival, producers of Downton Abbey, Whitechapel and Last Kingdom.
Caz Frear grew up in Coventry and spent her teenage years dreaming of moving to London and writing a novel. After fulfilling her first dream, it wasn’t until she moved back to Coventry thirteen years later that the writing dream finally came true. When she’s not agonising over snappy dialogue or incisive prose, she can be found shouting at the TV when Arsenal are playing, or holding court in the pub on topics she knows nothing about.
Thank you to Tracy Fenton over at Compulsive Readers for inviting me along for this Blog Tour. Follow the tour to see what other bloggers are saying about Stone Cold Heart …