T. Jefferson Parker has a new fan. A friend recently gave me Cold Pursuit, an older (2003) book of Parkers, and I am so glad they did. When the murder of tuna-boat captain turned former mayor and Ford and Mercury dealership success fell to San Diego homicide detective Tom McMichael, by all rights he should have passed. After all, there were decades of death and destruction between the Braga’s and McMichael’s. Because Tom was the consummate professional, he accepted the case.
Well into his 80’s, Pete Braga was found bludgeoned to death in the trophy room of his home. When McMichael arrived at the scene, he was surprised by the violence that appeared to have taken place in anger. Who could have hated Braga enough to commit such a harsh act, especially at his advanced age? The main suspect turned out to be his nurse, the person who found his body and called 911.
Many years ago, Pete Braga and McMichael’s grandfather had been partners in a tuna fishing enterprise. In a dispute over money, Braga killed his partner. Seeking revenge, McMichael’s father savagely beat Braga’s son who became an imbecile due to his massive head injuries.
To add to the complicated family mix, Tom fell in love with Braga’s granddaughter while they were in high school. During the investigation, they both realize there are still feelings left over from their past romance. Now, Tom must find the person responsible for the man’s savage death.
To add to the tension, McMichael becomes intrigued by and begins to fall in love with the chief suspect getting him in hot water with the powers that be in the precinct.
Cold Pursuit is a hard-boiled thriller written in taut language that keeps the pace moving forward. The sometimes gritty prose provides an edginess that works well with the story line. With numerous twists and turns throughout, the reader is carried along by the plot and the intriguing characters.
T. Jefferson Parker writes a complicated story in true classic crime fashion. He describes the various settings with a terseness that keeps the plot from sagging while allowing the reader to feel they are actually in the room. There is a feeling of being included in the story itself as it moves along to the stunning climax.
This book of many pages and plot turns is well worth the read all the way to the truly surprising ending.