Cold Winter's Kill
Author: Bob Doerr
Publisher: TotalRecall Publications (2009)
Binding: Hardcover, 256 pages
A fast paced thriller that takes place in the scenic mountains of Lincoln County, New Mexico. It was one of those phone calls former Air Force Special Agent Jim West never wanted to receive -- an old friend calling to ask if West could drive down to Ruidoso to help locate his daughter who has disappeared while on a ski trip with friends. Jim found himself heading to Ruidoso even though he believed, much like the local authorities, that if she had gone missing in the mountains in December, her chances for survival were slim. He didn't want to be there when they found her but still he drove on.
Once in Ruidoso, Jim discovers a sinister coincidence that changes everything. It appears that someone is abducting and killing one young blonde every year around Christmas. The race is on -- can Jim locate his friend's daughter on time? Jim can't wait for the local authorities to raise the priority of their search, or for the pending blizzard to pass. In his haste he puts himself in the killer's sights. Will he, too, suffer from a cold winter's kill?
My stepsister was brutally murdered many years ago in New Mexico. The crime has gone unsolved. Given my family history, I'm usually reluctant to pick up a novel that deals with the subject of beautiful young women who've gone missing or been murdered. So I was a bit apprehensive about the prospect of reading Bob Doerr's new thriller 'Cold Winter's Kill,' which takes place in and around the rugged mountains of Ruidoso, New Mexico. Then I opened the novel to the first page -- a brief prologue -- and was completely taken in.
From the beginning I wanted to know who the young woman was chased down in the snow in the middle of a New Mexico blizzard and pushed over the edge into nothingness. And I wanted to know who did it and why. I didn't even know the victim's name, but I already cared about her.
This is the mark of a good writer. No matter the genre, or even the setting, if you care about the characters in a story, chances are you will keep reading. So I turned the page, and I kept reading, until the end, when I was literally on the edge of my seat, frantic with worry that the narrator, former Air Force Special Agent Jim West, might not be able to save a young woman named Melissa, who's been missing for several days. Melissa's parents have entrusted their old friend Jim to find their college age daughter, who came to Ruidoso on a skiing trip with friends. But is he too late? Has she been abducted or simply gotten lost somewhere in the mountains? If they don't find her soon, will she end up in the same fate as several other young blondes who've gone missing right before Christmas the past few years, their bodies discovered after winter's thaw?
By the end of the story I was ready to hire Jim West myself and asked him to take a road trip to another town in New Mexico where a killer has gone unpunished.
I recommend 'Cold Winter's Kil' to anyone looking for a good thriller, mystery or a story that will leave them with the hope that goodness and justice will prevail in the end.
Reviewed by: Kathleen Rodgers (2010)