Title: Stone Cold Heart
Author: Caz Frear
Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre
After a brief stint in the Mayor’s Office, Detective Constable Cat Kinsella is back at the London Metropolitan Police, wisecracking with her partner Luigi Parnell and trying to avoid the wrath of the boss, DI Kate Steele.
But for Cat and Parnell, it’s serious business when a young Australian woman turns up dead after a party thrown by her new boss. The initial investigation of Naomi Lockhart’s murder points to Joseph Madden, the owner of a coffee shop around the corner from police headquarters. Madden insists he’s innocent, that he was home with his wife Rachel at the time of the murder. When police question her, Rachel contradicts his alibi, swearing that she was home alone.
While the team builds its case against Joseph, Cat is tasked with getting to the heart of the Maddens’ marriage. Cat knows that one of them is lying—but the question of which one, and why, is far more complicated than she could have expected. As she tries to balance the demands of the investigation with a budding romance and unresolved family drama, Cat has to decide how far she’ll go to keep her own past mistakes buried.
With her trademark wit and brilliant plotting, Caz Frear ratchets up the tension and keeps you guessing as she explores the secrets we keep from our loved ones—and the ones we’d kill to keep safe in the dark.
Stone Cold Heart builds on the brilliant character of Cat, with her own issues (largely around her dad and his less-than-squeaky-clean history) and faults, but despite all this – or perhaps because of this – she’s a hugely likable character. I love her and the way she interacts with her colleague, Parnell, who is another brilliant character. There are lots of snarky comments and lines from Cat and her colleagues which made me laugh, as well as a satisfying lack of cheesiness or predictability in her relationship with boyfriend Aiden. We find out more about their relationship and Cat herself, on top of the information from book one, and although it’s not necessary to read the first book, I think it enhances the reading of this one.
Another great aspect of this novel is the tight, intriguing plot. Although focused on the investigation into Naomi’s death, there’s plenty more revealed as the team dig deeper, and a variety of people find themselves in the frame for her murder. There are multiple strands to the story which come together really well towards the end and left me feeling satisfied with the result, and excited to return again to this great cast of characters (whenever book three is released)!
Many thanks to Bonnier Zaffre for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.