2 out of 4 stars
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Cold Case Closure by Patrick Ian O’Donnell and Charles O. Gaylor is touted as a police procedural novel, and deals with a number of fictional cold murder cases. It is a standalone novel and falls into the general fiction/detective thriller category.
Grant Frazier is a retired Cold Case Crime Taskforce member, as well as having previously worked for the LAPD. During his time in law enforcement he has seen far too many people get away with murder due to lack of evidence or credible witnesses. With the death of his wife, and the fact that he is no longer active in law enforcement, Grant goes off to mete out his own brand of justice to the cases he feels most aggrieved about not having been solved. The problem with being judge, jury and executioner however, is that sometimes you find you might be wrong.
The idea of a retired cop playing vigilante and bringing killers who got away with murder to justice really intrigued me. The prologue starts with a bang and sets the tone for the book, so you expect a fast-paced ride. The book lays out a bit of Grant’s background and how his son-in-law came to work with him. It focusses on the murders and the people believed to have done them, as well as why they were never found guilty of the crimes. Some are told from the murderer’s perspective and others as a police case. This gives you a bit of a clue as to an important twist in the story. You also get an insight into a lot of police techniques used within the departments and the hard work that goes into solving a case successfully.
Unfortunately cracks started to show up very early on in the book. Timelines were a major issue and contradicted each other. Examples were:
• In the beginning of the book it states that Grant’s wife dies six months after learning of her cancer diagnosis and a few lines later it says three months.
• Grant is set to retire in July 2013 but his son-in-law Mike takes over a week later in August 2014, and once Grant is retired he sets out to find the killers in January 2014.
• In the beginning of the book a gentleman named Ostler is stated as having been killed in 2008, then later it is discussed as being in 2003, and when they interview his housekeeper in 2014 they talk about it happening 14 years previously.
• In 2014 Grant says he has been in law enforcement for 40 years but fought in Grenada in 1983 and only joined law enforcement once his enlistment was over.
These were just a few of the timeline errors. There were a lot of misplaced and missing quotation marks so it wasn’t always obvious as to who was speaking. Prepositions and plurals were missing, hyphens were placed between words where not necessary, words like alley were spelled ally (when used for walkway) and words were used in the wrong context like prospective instead of perspective. Capitals cropped up in the middle of sentences, apostrophes were missing and dates suddenly alternated between being written in numerals and words. Sometimes the same information was repeated from one paragraph to the next and the writing style often moved between casual and formal, which made me question if it was due to the different writing styles of the authors.
The premise behind the story made me think about justice and whether or not vigilantes can be condoned for their actions. It saddened me that the editing and grammatical mistakes in the book brought down what could have been a great detective thriller. The ending does have a twist, and even though you can see the lead up to it, I really hoped that it wouldn’t go that way as I was eager for an honourable ending and an admission of wrongdoing. I commend the authors on a great idea, but remove one star for punctuation and grammar and another for the glaringly obvious mistakes in the script. I thus rate Cold Case Closure 2 out of 4 stars, and even so would recommend it to mature YA readers and up who enjoy police stories, especially thrillers, and can handle episodes of violence in their reading.
Cold Case Closure
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