Monday, August 07, 2006

Mystery Book Review: Out Cold by William G. Tapply

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of Out Cold by William G. Tapply. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Out Cold by William G. Tapply

Out Cold by William G. Tapply
A Brady Coyne Mystery
St. Martin's Minotaur (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-312-33746-9 (0312337469)
ISBN-13: 978-0-312-33746-9 (9780312337469)
Publication Date: September 2006
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Brady Coyne is a Boston attorney, whose routine legal work and sedate lifestyle usually keep him far away from trouble. Unfortunately, one cold January morning, trouble comes to him. When Brady lets his dog out into the backyard of his Back Bay brownstone, he finds a girl buried under the snow in Brady's back yard. A teenager, maybe fifteen or sixteen, who had apparently crawled into the backyard, bleeding, in the middle of the night, only to die from hypothermia and blood loss. The singular clue to her identity is a small piece of paper with the brownstone's address scribbled on it.

Now Brady is determined to find out who the girl was, why she had his address, and what happened to her. But the mysterious girl's death is only the beginning - someone out there knows Brady is trying to find out what happened that night and is willing to do anything, or kill anyone, to keep the truth from coming out.

Review: Boston attorney Brady Coyne investigates the circumstances surrounding the death of a teenage girl in Old Cold, the 22nd mystery in this long running series by William G. Tapply.

Though he was not responsible for the teenager's death, the fact she died in his backyard and his belief that he might have done something to save her drives Brady to learn her identity and the reasons behind her death. His investigation ultimately leads to a secluded estate in northern New Hampshire where he uncovers a family's shocking secrets.

Old Cold is, for the most part, a well constructed mystery. The plot is topical and the final resolution is unexpected. It is odd, however, that Brady has such a strong connection to a girl whom he had never known but who happened to die at his home, yet has little apparent remorse for two other women whom he had met and interacted with but were later presumably killed as a direct result of his involvement. Furthermore, the motive for the murders of these two women is never fully explained. They "knew something" but what it was or how they came about this information is never revealed. In the end, these two murders serve no purpose as they don't advance the plot in any meaningful way.

The longevity of the Brady Coyne series is a testament to the consistency of Tapply to write mystery fiction that not only sells well, but is interesting to read. Old Cold is typical of the series, but not among the best.

Special thanks to St. Martin's Press for providing an ARC of Out Cold for this review.

Review Copyright © 2006 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

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