Cold Shadows is a murder mystery novel in a world where things are not what they seem at first glance, and the FBI have to work to uncover just how deep the conspiracy that resulted in Philip Kurchow’s death goes. When Philip Kurchow, who worked in IT for the international transportation company Schulle, came across some information that could reveal illegal dealings that the company was involved with, Schulle’s executive board saw fit to have him eliminated. This was the catalyst that would bring Kip Mitchelson, an investment banker and good friend of Kurchow, to be recruited by the FBI for what was seemingly a singular mission. Although, what is revealed is that the case is more complicated than they expected it to be.
When the FBI asks for Mitchelsen’s help to draw out a potential informant within Schulle, someone they hope will provide insight on Kurchow’s murder, as well as the company’s illegal dealings, Kip finds himself in a bed of unanswerable questions and the danger of being eliminated himself. While they initially thought the person to fear was the man who murdered Philip, Ernst Haussman, it’s revealed that a worse danger is in play, a rogue contracted killer known as Rafter. Cold Shadows becomes a race against time as Kip tries to put the pieces together to figure out what Philip’s role is in the entire operation. What nobody predicts is how far the conspiracy goes when one man’s murder turns into an investigation of an illegal smuggling operation, which may be tied to a separate FBI investigation regarding the Russian mob and a biological weapons deal.
It was a fun read and was definitely an ambitious novel that took on a lot. I thought the way in which seemingly different plot points all came together was nice and the loose ends of the overarching theme were more or less tied up and clean. Like other books that have parallel plot lines, that moment when everything starts to make sense is satisfying, and Jeff Critser’s novel is no different. I think this works particularly well with mystery-based novels, because it gives the reader a chance to put the pieces together before the story does for us. That being said, because there was so much going on, I found it a little difficult to follow in the beginning as we were introduced to a number of new characters. There were so many different players throughout the novel that, at certain points, it was easy to feel how complicated the plot was. My main criticism of Cold Shadows would be that while it kept me intrigued such that I wanted to continue reading it through to the end whenever I picked it up, I finished the book feeling like I wanted more out of the story. There were a few tangents that the novel would open, without really explaining them or touching on them again. I particularly felt this in regard to Rafter. For a character who is portrayed to be “the big bad” of the novel, we don’t really know anything about him and his role was comparatively small. It’s clear that he is dangerous and that government agencies, including the FBI and CIA, are afraid of him, but the questions of who, what, where, when, and why weren’t addressed and, instead, he was developed only in reputation, not as a character. To me, Cold Shadows hit a medium intensity that will be engaging for readers of a lighter crime novel.
|Page Count||440 pages|
|Publisher||Dark Matters Press|
|Bookshop.org||Buy this Book|
|Category||Mystery, Crime & Thriller|