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Sunday 27 January 2013

‘Cold Death’ by Michael Fowler

Published by Caffeine Nights, 2012.
ISBN 978-1-907565-28-1

This novel is the second in the series featuring Detective Sergeant Hunter Kerr and Detective Constable Grace Marshall of the South Yorkshire Police, the first being Heart of the Demon, reviewed in Mystery People December 2012. It also involves Hunter’s father, originally from Glasgow, who moved to Yorkshire with his wife many years before.

It begins in 1971 in Glasgow’s East End with the brutal murder of a young mother and her daughter by three gangsters. It then moves in time and place to 2008 and Yorkshire where Hunter, on holiday with his wife, witnesses a violent argument involving his father which is shortly followed by a violent road-rage incident in which Hunter’s father and mother are seriously injured and hospitalised. Hunter’s father is not forthcoming about the incident. Meanwhile Grace is called to a lake where the body of a young Asian woman has been found; she has been murdered. Hunter leads the investigation on this case as his team try and establish who she is and who might have been involved in her death. But at the same time, it seems that the three gangsters have now, after many years, come together and are on a killing spree; three retired detectives are murdered and events are moving closer and closer to Hunter’s father. But why? What is the connection? Hunter is inevitably drawn into this situation so that Grace finds herself bearing much of the responsibility for the investigation into the death of the murdered woman.

The author is a retired police inspector with extensive experience in CID and the Vice and Drugs Squads. It is this experience which provides Cold Night with its most outstanding feature, the strong sense of authenticity. Details of police and forensic procedures are meticulously described and anyone who wants to know how such situations are investigated will find this book most instructive. However, there seems to have been a problem with proof-reading, particularly with regard to commas; perhaps in Hunter’s and Grace’s next investigation the author and the publishers will sort the problem out.
Reviewer: Radmila May

Michael Fowler was born in 1957, in Rotherham, and grew up in the once industrial heartland of South Yorkshire where he still lives with his wife and two sons.  He served as a police officer for thirty-two years, both in uniform and in plain clothes, working in CID, Vice Squad and Drug Squad, and retired in 2006 in the rank of Inspector, finishing his career in charge of a busy CID department. He now writes and paints full-time.

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