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Cold Case    by Robin Burcell order for
Cold Case
by Robin Burcell
Order:  USA  Can
Avon, 2004 (2004)
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Cold Case is Robin Burcell's fourth entry in her series about SFPD Homicide Inspector Kate Gillespie. Since Burcell's day job is criminal investigation, I felt pretty sure I was in for a good, accurate read about police work. I was right. Kate Gillespie was shot three years earlier by a suspect who murdered a hooker. Now events transpire that could lead back to that murder and to the attempt on Kate's life. She becomes embroiled in a scenario that involves the man's missing wife, the shooting death of a bank president, a fund raiser that ends with a shot fired at Kate, and a woman who isn't a woman after all. Just to enliven the mix, an affair of the heart is thrown in.

Though the plot takes many sudden turns that take concentration to follow, and I found it difficult to keep the many characters straight, it's worth the effort. I like Kate Gillespie a no-nonsense policewoman who wears her heart on her sleeve for a certain FBI agent. Plenty of action keeps the story moving forward at a good clip, and the short view of the world of transvestites is a nice touch. I also liked the rapport between the members of the force, and felt included in their conversations. A twist at the end, one that I expected, involved a twist of its own that took me by surprise. Add roses and rose petals, and Robin Burcell proves she is capable of more than criminal investigation. She is a talented writer, one to keep an eye on.

2nd Review by Melissa Parcel:

San Francisco Homicide Investigator Kate Gillespie was shot three years before the story opens. Both the murder she was investigating and her own shooting have gone unsolved. In an attempt to rekindle the flames of this cold case, Kate appears on a local crime solving show. Soon afterwards, a potential informant is found dead, and Kate and her partner witness a bank robbery and murder. FBI agent Mike Torrance and his partner are involved because of a possible connection between Kate's case, an FBI case, and crime boss Nick Paolini. Their interview with Paolini triggers cascading events, including meetings with various shady characters. No one is telling the truth, and someone begins staking Kate. Will the team find the culprit before Kate is silenced for good?

It is difficult to keep the mystery's huge cast of characters straight at first. Once the reader can sort out who's who, the plot takes on a life of its own, with exciting twists and turns. There are so many possible suspects that I was completely surprised at the identity of the murderer. Kate is a strong female character with a vulnerable side, and the romantic tension between Kate and Torrance makes an intriguing secondary story. Though Cold Case is Robin Burcell's fourth in her Kate Gillespie series, it can stand alone as a thrilling, fast-paced mystery with a hint of romance.

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