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Cold Water Burning

John Straley

136 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0553106430 / ISBN 13: 9780553106435
Published by Bantam, New York, 2001
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From Rascal Books (Kansas city, MO, U.S.A.)

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Cold Water Burning

Publisher: Bantam, New York

Publication Date: 2001

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Signed: Signed and Dated By Author

Edition: First Edition/First Printing

About this title

Synopsis:

The award-winning novels of John Straley are powerful, one-of-a-kind mysteries set in a world of perfect beauty and less-than-perfect lives. In his new novel, Straley plunges us into the wake of a horrific crime that has scarred its survivors, set a community on edge, and brought private investigator Cecil Younger into the eye of a deadly storm.

It could be argued that being a private investigator in the small town of Sitka, Alaska, is one of the worst career decisions a person with a high-school diploma can make. And the fact is, even by his own admission Cecil Younger is not even a good private investigator. Yet for some reason, call it fate, he cannot give it up. As if he needed proof, there was the case of the unsolved murders aboard the Mygirl.

Three years ago someone brutally killed four people on the scow, soaked the deck with gasoline, and set all the evidence ablaze as he escaped in a red tin skiff. Two young men got out with their lives and a third was charged with the slayings. But in a crowded courtroom Cecil Younger helped the accused go free, knowing that the headline-grabbing trial did everything but get at the truth.

Now, the man charged with the Mygirl murders has disappeared and his wife believes someone has taken revenge. As a storm bears down on the Alaskan coast, two people connected with the case die in separate, sudden, and bizarre explosions of gunfire.

Younger is sure that someone is trying to finish the deadly job begun on the Mygirl three years ago. But to find the answers he needs, Younger must leave the fragile shelter of his life -- a life shared with his lover Jane Marie, their infant child, and housemate Toddy.

A wooden sloop called the Naked Horse has left harbor for the wind-lashed sea. And out in the storm, chasing the Naked Horse, Cecil Younger will come face-to-face with everything he thought he knew, with a person he thought he trusted, and with the jagged pieces of a mystery taking a new, horrifying shape in his mind.

Review:

Cecil Younger, the protagonist of John Straley's series of mysteries set in Sitka, Alaska, isn't exactly a slacker, but as PIs go, he doesn't invest his job with a great deal of energy or effort. In Cold Water Burning, his sixth outing, Cecil stumbles with characteristic good nature through his assignment: to find a missing man he himself helped acquit of burning a boat and killing its occupants. The man's vanished, along with $50,000 a tabloid advanced him for his version of how the crime really went down.

A talented stylist whose prose sparkles like the sun on icy tundra, Straley excels at sketching unusually picaresque characters and painting brilliant word portraits of Sitka's beautiful and unforgiving setting. All the elements are in place for a satisfying thriller--the unsolved murders aboard the Mygirl, Cecil's role in helping the accused man go free, and the anger of the victims' survivors, which ultimately places our hero in the murderer's gun sights. But they take second place to Cecil's relationship with his most trusted mentor, George Doggy, and both the plot and the pace--not exactly a breakneck ride to begin with--suffer as a consequence. There's a brilliant scene right out of The Perfect Storm as Cecil heads out on a very large ocean in a very small boat to rescue Toddy, his autistic housemate. Straley manages to stitch the somewhat ragged edges of the plot together convincingly enough, but he may need to light a fire under Cecil if he expects him to continue to carry this series. --Jane Adams

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