By Beth Terrell
Revenge Served Cold is a cozy mystery with a touch of the paranormal. Written by Ohio businesswoman and attorney Jackie Fullerton, the novel features court reporter and part-time law student Anne Marshall solving the hit-and-run murder of one of her professors, Elliott Spence. Spence's wife, Kathy, is the prime--and only--suspect in the crime, but Anne becomes convinced of her innocence. This is largely through the influence of Anne's father's ghost. Her father, James, died several years before, but occasionally returns to involve his daughter in a bit of amateur sleuthing. Though a bit cavalier with his daughter's safety (understandable perhaps, for a man who knows from experience that life does not end with death), James is a likable character, and the interplay between Anne and her father provides some touching moments.
The book is a fast, light read by an author who clearly cares about her characters. Though it was clear from almost the beginning who had committed the crime and why, this did really not bother me because of book's focus on the relationships between characters rather than the mystery itself.
One challenge for writers of PI or amateur sleuth mysteries is how to give the protagonist the bulk of the work without depicting law enforcement officials as either corrupt, power-hungry bullies or incompetent fools. To her credit, Fullerton's police detectives are decent and sympathetic human beings. However, they seemed ill equipped for criminal investigation, and I wished they had been more competent. I also wondered why Anne was so averse to sharing pivotal information with Kathy's defense attorney, but since this book is the second in a series, the groundwork for some of Anne's more questionable decisions may have been laid in the first installment, Piercing the Veil.
Here's an excerpt:
Anne drove in silence, enjoying the company of her father. She took in the tobacco aroma and felt the assurance of him by her side. Memories of baseball games floated through her mind. When she was thirteen she had been part of the girls' traveling team and was wild about anything to do with baseball. That summer, her dad took her to every game he could. She particularly enjoyed the night games. It was magical to her when the lights came on and the stadium lit up like a stage. She remembered sitting there on those warm summer nights with her dad, a stadium hot dog covered with mustard and onions in one hand and a soda in the other. And that was just the start.
You can learn more about Jackie and her books at http://www.jackiefullerton.com.
Note: A copy of this book was provided by the author's publicist in return for an impartial review.