Stone Cold Heart

Stone Cold Heart by Caz Frear is told from the point of view of Detective Constable Cat Kinsella, a cop with her own shady past. It's the follow-up to Sweet Little Lies, but references to that novel are minor distractions to Heart's whodunit plot.

Kinsella and her partner, Sergeant Luigi Parnell, are given a murder case. Naomi Lockhart was a 22-year-old who suffered blunt force trauma to the back of the head after attending an after-hours party at her boss's house. Prime suspect Joseph Madden seems like he should be locked up simply as a public service to London's citizens. Kinsella had a personal run-in with Madden before she was even assigned Naomi's case and has justifiable reasons to dislike the guy.

In spite of Madden's bragging about extramarital exploits, his general propensity to lie about even the smallest of things and a mound of evidence against him, Kinsella has her doubts about his guilt, much to the annoyance of the investigative team. Kinsella has a gut feeling something isn't right, and Frear interrupts most of Kinsella's verbal interactions with the detective constable's inner monologue. In a lesser writer's hands, this device could become annoying, but Frear sidesteps the trap by providing readers the opportunity to ride shotgun and solve the crime through Kinsella's eyes. Most everyone surrounding Madden appears to be holding back some truth, but so is Kinsella, which is why she's attuned to other people's lies. How Frear brings all the complex plot points together makes the big reveal worth the journey. --Paul Dinh-McCrillis, freelance reviewer

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