Cold Frame Proves Deutermann Still Has Awesome Skills

P(Pete) T Deutermann has been a part of the writing scene for many years now. I discovered him a couple of decades ago and eagerly awaited his novels, most of which had a military theme. Then somehow I lost touch with this author’s offerings and moved on to other writers. P T Deutermann became a distant memory. So imagine my surprise when I discovered his latest novel Cold Frame. And imagine my happiness when I read it and discovered this talented writer still has what it takes to entertain readers.

This new book takes on the activities of counterterrorism and plunges the reader into the murk and mire of that world. Metro Police Detective Av Smith finds himself being sucked down the drain of life by being called out to investigate the murder of a high ranking Washington official. The man died mysteriously at a fancy Washington restaurant, and the circumstances get more and more confusing as Av does his job. At first the body is called a John Doe but later is given a name; then the follow-up information being offered is spotty at best.

Av is part of a police unit made up of detectives who do not “play well with others”. They are supposed to get cases and then ship them off to other bureaucracies. But this case seems to have sticking power and the longer it stays around Av the more dangerous it gets. Av finds his life being monitored, or so he thinks. Of course it may just be paranoia.

Deutermann still knows how to create situations that glue the readers to the pages. Just when you think the plot of Cold Frame is as wild and bizarre as it can get, you turn the next page and it goes even crazier. Still it all stays logical and that is what makes it a good read. This isn’t science fiction or fantasy but rather a wild ride into a world of what could possibly happen.

Deutermann had awesome skills years ago when I first read his books and he has awesome skills today. Cold Frame is as exciting and suspenseful as just about any other book I have read this summer. I liked the plot; I liked the characters: I liked the way Deutermann tied it all up in the end. Oh, and that very last sentence – perfect!

Cold Frame is published by St. Martin’s Press. It contains 304 pages and sells for $26.99.

— Jackie K. Cooper

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