The Cold Light of Death by Scott Hunter [6/10]

Scott Hunter is one of the most able and prolific police procedural authors in the market, and I had read all seven (and reviewed three of them on this site) of his DCI Brendan Moran series set in the Thames Valley region around Oxford. But I was unprepared for and delighted by the quick release of Number 8, “The Cold Light of Death.” This time around, the author first places us in 1976, embroiled in a shop owner’s murder, then jumps four and a half decades to the present day, when a body is unearthed and Moran, with his usual crew, needs to solve a case as cold as a case can be. As we have come to expect from this author, the writing is supple and easy to read, the complex plot unfolds in steady hands, and the ensemble cast, riffing off each other, enriches the entire reading experience. Procedurals beg to be read in a single sitting, and I spent an enjoyable evening with The Cold Light of Death, but at the end, in spite of a a series of satisfying fake climaxes, I felt a smidgen dissatisfied. There was nothing in the triumvirate of plot, characterization, and setting that seemed awry, rather I sensed insubstantiality in this addition to the stellar series. The Cold Light of Day marks time, and marks it entertainingly, but I find myself hoping for an upping of the stakes in the next one.

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