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Darkness the Color of Snow    by Thomas Cobb order for
Darkness the Color of Snow
by Thomas Cobb
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2016 (2015)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Patrolman Ronny Forbert had a tough childhood, its details gradually revealed as the story in Thomas Cobb's Darkness the Color of Snow develops. It shows the community's reaction to a violent incident between the young officer and a group of thugs with whom he had a bad history. He doesn't call for backup, and the leader of the group, Matt Laferiere, dies in a hit and run during their struggle.

The case seems clear cut and Lydell's Police Chief Gordy Hawkins, who hired the young patrolman, has his back, though he does suspend him for five days for failing to call for backup. But then dirty town politics erupt and the dead youth's family cry loud for vengeance, blaming Ronny even after the hit and run driver is identified and charged. A witness (one of Matt's drinking buddies) is encouraged to remember events in a way that will support the case against the officer.

Why go to these lengths? The town council, controlled by its corrupt president, Martin Glendenning, wants to get rid of their police department ('a danger to his illegal enterprises') and let the state cops handle crime. Ronny Forbert's case becomes the issue they manipulate to make things go their way. And Ronny, who's pulled himself out of his old life by sheer grit and determination, begins to doubt himself and his position as public feeling rises against him.

Although this seems like young Ronny's story, in many ways it is more Gordy Hawkins' tale. Readers will root for both of them in this noir psychological mystery. It's well worth a read.

2nd Review by Mary Ann Smyth:

When Patrolman Ronny Forbert tries to arrest a speeding driver, Matt Laferiere (who fights having handcuffs placed on his wrists) is accidentally killed by a hit and run driver. Ronny is accused of having deliberately murdered the man! Nothing could be farther from the truth, but the dead man's family plans to sue.

Readers learn of Ronny Forbert's background as well as the dead man's. A certain element in the town has decided Forbert is guilty and wants a trial. They know that there was bad blood between the two men and feel sure that Forbert took advantage of the situation to rid himself of an old enemy.

A young man who had been in the stopped car tells a tale of how Forbert flung Laferiere in front of the oncoming vehicle, thus causing his death. We know that isn't true. But those who want to believe him do.

Darkness the Color of Snow is written by a master. Do not cheat and read the last pages. The realistic ending will make you catch your breath.

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