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Cold Case Squad    by Edna Buchanan order for
Cold Case Squad
by Edna Buchanan
Order:  USA  Can
Simon & Schuster, 2004 (2004)
* * *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

Two seemingly unrelated deaths take place in 1992. A strip club owner and a stripper are gunned down after a robbery. Later that afternoon, a man is trapped under the car he's working on. He's killed when the fuel tank ignites and the car and garage explode. The murders appear to be solved soon afterwards, and the explosion is recorded as an accident.

Twelve years later, the ex-wife of Charles Terrell (the man who died in the explosion) reports to the Miami Police Department's Cold Case Squad that she has seen Charles. Chief K. C. Riley, still fresh from the burning death of the love of her life, assigns the Cold Case Squad to start investigating immediately. Squad members are Sergeant Craig Burch, dealing with problems in his marriage; Detective Sam Stone, hot on the case of a killer who has been at it for many years; and Detective Pete Nazario, the 'human lie detector'. None of them want to get involved in something that will take a lot of work and turn up nothing. But soon pieces begin to fall into place, that bring the entire Squad into the path of danger.

Although these characters have appeared in other books by the author, she has switched her focus away from crime reporter Britt Montero (who isn't even mentioned here) to the Cold Case Squad. Enough back story is given that readers will not be lost if this is their first experience with the series. The main characters are all endearing in their own ways, and the reader will care about each person and their troubles from the beginning. The plot is intense and fast moving - though it deals with old crimes, that doesn't make them any less exciting. There's a satisfying feeling to being able to reach closure on long-open cases and give family members peace.

Fans of police procedurals will delight in this newest offering (of a type popularized in tv shows such as CSI: Miami and Cold Case). The mystery is intense and clues are uncovered at a brisk pace. The action-filled drama is lightened occasionally by humor, particularly featuring Burch's estranged wife's revenge plots against him and his car. The Cold Case Squad is determined, no matter how long ago crimes happened. In the words of Detective Stone, 'You think you're getting away with it. Well, your worst bad dream is about to come true. Keep looking over your shoulder, because we're coming for you.'

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