Monday, December 17, 2012

Cold Kill by David Lawrence

 David Lawrence’s Cold Kill is the third Detective Stella Mooney mystery, published in 2005. A series of “thrill-kills” have filled the London tabloids with stories of dead young women who were attacked with no apparent motivation.

 D.S. Mooney’s on the case, and she has a likely suspect: a floppy-haired young man who was following one of the dead women and has confessed to her murder. A search of his flat reveals that he doesn’t just follow, he uses a zoom lens to take photos which he attaches to explicit and violent handwritten stories. And it wasn’t just the one woman, it’s an alphabet-full.

 But during questioning, the stalker is shaky on some of the details of the murder, and completely wrong about others. When DNA results come in, his doesn’t match the material found on the body. Mooney has to cut him loose, because he’s an “innocent” man. Or he was. Someone read about his confession in the newspapers. Someone was impressed. And now the stalker has a new friend, who’s really not fooling around.

The rest of the world keeps moving on in the midst of this high-stakes murder investigation. Mooney and her boyfriend are trying to figure out if it’s lust holding them together, or something more. She’s not sure if she can set the boundaries necessary in a relationship between a cop and a reporter, and he’s not sure he’s willing to follow them. Meanwhile, Mooney’s team struggles with their own issues, from ending affairs to being targeted by gangs of young burglars.

Lawrence has a literary style and a postmodern sensibility, where not everything gets tied up in a neat bow at the end. It’s not a cozy mystery, but it is a good one. I would suggest reading the series in order.

The dead sit round in a ring 
Nothing like the night
Cold kill
Down into darkness

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