"Like all things good and bad in the world, it began with a woman..."
And so begins the first chapter of Edna Buchanan's Cold Case Squad, a new suspense novel that features a special homicide unit that breathes new life into old cases.
A man and a woman are shot dead at a strip club in Miami Beach. A few hours later, an explosion in a garage rocks a child's birthday party and burns a father of three to death. The murders go unsolved and the fire is chalked up to an accident.
But was it an accident? Twelve years later, a blonde walks in to the Miami Police Department's Cold Case Squad -- which Buchanan fans will remember from The Ice Maiden -- and complains that she's been seeing her husband everywhere she goes. Trouble is, he's been dead for twelve years. In Buchanan's characteristic voice, "Some guys just don't know when to let go."
As the Cold Case Squad unearths the details of the strip club deaths and the dead or missing father -- as well as the unsolved killings of a series of little old ladies -- readers get to know the three cops and their boss: veteran homicide detective Sergeant Craig Burch, whose marriage has turned into a case he can't solve; Detective Sam Stone, for whom the past will always be a mystery; Detective Pete Nazario, airlifted out of Cuba during "Operation Pedro Pan" in the 1960s; and Lieutenant K. C. Riley, for whom one case will never grow cold.
Edna Buchanan has been thrilling readers since her Pulitzer Prize-winning stint as a crime reporter for The Miami Herald. The Chicago Tribune once raved that "few writers can touch Buchanan," to which The Washington Post Book World seemed to respond, "I doubt if anyone else is doing it better." In Cold Case Squad, Edna Buchanan, the woman the Los Angeles Daily News calls "the Queen of crime," delivers unlikely killers, near-perfect murders, and her most suspenseful novel yet.
Usual series heroine Britt Montero (The Ice Maiden; You Only Die Twice) is nowhere to be seen as Buchanan focuses instead on the Miami Police Department's Cold Case Squad, led by Sgt. Craig Burch: "I breathe new life into old, cold cases and track killers whose trails vanished long ago like footprints on a sea washed beach." Burch is backed by detectives Sam Stone and Pete Nazario and takes orders from Lt. K.C. Riley, who is grieving the death of ex-lover, Kendall McDonald. In fact, all of the squad members have problems both on and off the force, subplots that play out alongside the several murders that command most of the attention. Detective Stone is on the trail of a serial killer who specializes in old ladies, laying the bodies out in meticulously composed death scenes. Stone suspects the killer is an orthodox Jew, clued in by his feisty grandma, who used to work for a Jewish family. The chief case is 12 years old and involves Charles Terrell, who everyone thought was accidentally blown up while working on his car. This cold case heats up quickly when the team chases down Terrell's sexy ex-wife, Natasha, who's dallying with her gardener, Nelson, a na ve Cuban immigrant who provides an amusing Carl Hiassen like chase scene toward the end. With Buchanan's practiced expertise, all the cases eventually get solved, and the squad's personal problems are either squared away or kept in abeyance for another installment. Buchanan's memorable characters strut their wacky stuff, but, as always, it's the fascinating, hothouse city of Miami that's the real star of the show. Forecast:All Buchanan's fans will climb on board for this one, which is set against the same backdrop as her regular series. Eight-city author tour.