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Barclay, Alex - 'Blood Runs Cold'
Paperback: 496 pages (Dec. 2008) Publisher: Harper ISBN: 0007268440

FBI agent Jean Transom is found dead on a mountain, only for her body to be lost again in an avalanche. Nevertheless, the Coroner had enough time to notice that she was shot. A major murder investigation is opened and Special Agent Ren Bryce is brought in to manage the case. This is not made easy as the local police as well as Jean's own FBI team are not comfortable with her leadership.Matters are not made much easier by the fact that the more Ren finds out, the more it becomes evident that Jean had some secrets which her colleagues might not want to know. Ren is a perfect person to run this particular investigation as she is a woman with her own problems, secrets and embarrassments, some of which could compromise her career and her objectivity.

I really enjoyed Alex Barclay's first two books DARKHOUSE and THE CALLER, two dark thrillers. BLOOD RUNS COLD takes the reader to a very different place, both geographically and with her characters. Some of the characterisation is a little two dimensional, especially some of the male FBI and police officers who appear a bit stereotyped, but Ren is delightfully flawed and human and talks to herself. I would have liked the book to have gone deeper into her background, but perhaps it is better to be left wanting more.

The complexity of an additional plotline added towards the end of the book made it more complicated than I think it needed to be and could really be the start of another book. However, overall, this was an enjoyable read and I will continue to follow Alex Barclay's future publications with interest.

Read another review of BLOOD RUNS COLD.

Amanda Brown, England
January 2009

More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 24/05/2009 09:57