Authors who are able to lift serious issues into the light without leaving me with a sense of having been preached to are gems. Suzanne McLeod is one of those.
The child stood barefoot and ignored in the cold, sheeting rain; her long dark hair was tossed by the fractious wind and her ragged clothes hung off her undernourished body. She was no more than eight or nine years old. She waited, staring at me from dark angry eyes. My heart beat faster at the sight of her, fingers of fear scraping down my spine and setting my teeth on edge.
As you see, not much of a sense of having been preached to in those introductory sentences. Suzanne McLeod knows how to build her tension. From the outset I understand that I am not meant to have a laid-back read with The Cold Kiss of Death. McLeod’s writing is even tighter in The Cold Kiss of Death than it was in The Sweet Scent of Blood making her succeed immensely in keeping me away from my chores.
During the story in The Cold Kiss of Death Genvieve Taylor discovers that to the fae (even those she thought were friends) she is a sexual object. At one point history is about to repeat itself when dryads attack her in the stairwell of her home. It has to be difficult not knowing if the people you are with are staying with you because of friendship or because you have become a means to an end.
When Tomas is killed at the beginning of the story DI Helen Crane’s hate is fully unleashed and the law of unintended consequences steps into play. Not only Genny is chased. Other fae are killed and hurt because they are fae and humans have fallen into mob mentality. Vampires see it as their chance to play with their food, food that is especially delicious. Their ultimate snack would be Genvieve because of her sidhe blood. Genny is the kind of person that automatically steps in to help the weaker. Now it has become essential for their survival that Genny solves the murder because DI Crane has made up her mind as to who is going to get executed. Genvieve isn’t really a detective, but she certainly fills that function in The Cold Kiss of Death.
This is another arena where McLeod’s story shows its excellence. Mysteries that keep me guessing are fun. The Cold Kiss of Death is like this for me. Even having read this previously did not ruin my good time. Now I was better able to see what traps McLeod had thrown my way to keep my mind from jumping to the right conclusion.
I have a couple of favorite scenes in this story. One is at Tavish’s place. The imagery of Genny’s anger mounting while struggling to get out of the water and then having her unleash that frustration at the two idiots on shore was satisfying.
The other one was the above fight in the stairwell of her home and its conclusion. Both are gruesome but in different ways. I guess the contrast between two scenes clearly show why I enjoy McLeod so much. She manages to portray humor, suspense and kindness in a manner that makes me believe that her characters are real.
My review of The Sweet Scent of Blood