I admit I like free shit. I also admit I’m not entirely rational in my thought process. For example, I happily hand over my Bouchercon and Left Coast Crime Conference fees and feel like I’ve won the lottery when I receive a bag filled with books. Seriously, this ends up being one of the major highlights of these conferences. So in my continued pursuit of this high, minus the conference fees, I have decided to scour Amazon for the best free short stories and books available. With that being said, let’s get to the review.
The beginning of A COLD DAY FOR MURDER reminded me of a tall sequoia, as I stood on the uppermost branches, staring out at a picturesque world, before I slipped and then smacked every branch on the way down. Even though I’ve never been to Alaska, I feel like I could paint a picture of its vast wilderness and attractive scenery and include a few interesting characters to boot, if I should so desire. Several of the chapters began with multiple pages of description, the text coming to life right before my eyes, springing forth like a cactus in the desert.
It wasn’t until I was about 36% through this tale on my Kindle (this transfers to roughly 71 pages into the print edition) before the mystery really took hold and took off. Had it not been for some lovely description and Kate’s straightforward, no-holds-barred mentality, I might have given up on this novel earlier. As it stands, though, I was rather glad I pushed through. Even though Kate isn’t the most likeable character, I really enjoyed her toughness and even found her abrasiveness rather amusing most of the time. She’s a character with some rough edges that I’m sure will get smoothed out in one of her later adventures.
As for the other characters, none are as fleshed out as Kate Shugak, but all showed signs of life and enough enthusiasm for further tales. The mystery proved interesting and engaging, but at times it felt like it took a backseat to the characters and the scenery. In the end, though, this was an enjoyable read from the first page to the last, it all fit together perfectly, and I look forward to catching up on more of Kate’s exploits.