A Cold Day in Hell
A Cold Case Investigation #1
Lissa Marie Redmond
Midnight Ink, February 2018
A Cold Day in Hell (A Cold Case Investigation) is the first book in a planned series by Lissa Marie Redmond, a retired Buffalo, New York, homicide detective. Lauren Riley is a well-known homicide cold case detective on the Buffalo, New York, police force. She also holds a private investigator’s license. Her absolute least favorite defense attorney asks her to help him in her capacity as a PI to defend his 18-year-old godson against murder charges. She loathes the attorney but agrees to help the youthful defendant after meeting him. She juggles her responsibilities as a cold case investigator with running down leads to help build an alternative theory of the murder.
The arresting officer turns out to be a former flame who still feels free to use his fists on Lauren. When that doesn’t deter her from helping the recent high school graduate, he begins to follow her outside working hours. His anger increases when he learns that Lauren is seeing her second husband again. That she did not file assault charges against this man when he hit her made me question the characterization of Lauren. It seems inconsistent with the idea of a take-charge, no-nonsense police detective.
This story has solid pacing and a detailed plot that comes together nicely in a surprise ending. The courtroom scenes are tense with good dialog. I have a hard time, however, believing that any police force would allow one of its staff to also act as a private investigator. This seems to me to be a significant conflict of interest. This potential conflict was addressed in the book two or three times by Lauren’s superiors who said they saw no issue with her choice of moonlighting careers, although Lauren herself wonders if she has damaged working relationships by taking on a role that is by definition in opposition to the police force. No question but what the answer is yes.
A lot of readers will enjoy this book with its mix of police procedure and deep involvement with the lead character’s personal life. There are enough irregularities with the portrayal of the protagonist, though, to make me doubt that I will look for the next title in the series.
Reviewed by Aubrey Hamilton, January 2018.