Series: Cold Justice: Crossfire #5
Published by Toni Anderson Inc. Pages: 460
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When Darby O'Roarke wakes up in a strange house with a dead man - with no memory of what happened - she knows who she has to call: FBI Supervisory Special Agent Eban Winters...the man she fell for, and who rejected her, last summer.
A negotiator isn't supposed to get involved with kidnap victims, and Eban has been trying to avoid the temptation that is Darby O'Roarke ever since they met. One frantic phone call has him racing to Alaska to uncover the truth, but he faces stubborn opposition from the local police, and a growing media frenzy.
Getting Darby released from jail and keeping her safe is his first priority. When another woman is brutally slain, evidence emerges that suggests Darby is being framed, and that the culprit is a vicious serial killer who has eluded the FBI for more than a decade...and, now, the killer has Darby in their sights.
Toni Anderson’s very classy mix of suspense and romance is a perfect escapist adventure these days – more so now than ever. ‘Cold As Ice’ picks up tangentially after its predecessor, focusing on Darby’s continued trauma as she is run through the wringer time and again in a place where everyone seems to be against her when a single murder snowballs into something more sinister.
But thankfully it’s not without Eban Winters at her side, the man whom she pines and yearns for so desperately yet is convinced half-heartedly that he doesn’t want her as anything more than just a friend. The man in question however, has convinced himself that there are too many barriers to what they can be together and the ultimate push as always, is that danger becomes the game-changer.
It wasn’t hard to feel sorry for Darby really, though I wished she’d been a little more stalwart (and a little less helpless and needy when it came to wanting to be with Eban all the time) and made Eban sweat a bit more when it came to finally deciphering what he wanted and needed.
Written around this dynamic however, is also a deft juggling of a sub-plot or two, woven seamlessly into Eban/Darby’s slow-burn relationship as the tension (romantic and suspense) ratchets up the more you flip the page. Anderson gives you the runaround when it comes to guessing the identity of the adept, knife-wielding serial killer and it did come as a surprise for me, though the ultimate reveal and motivations that swept along with it felt somewhat more bizarre than convincing. That said, ‘Cold as Ice’ is a more-than-welcome a page-tuner, with enough red-herrings and guessing moments to keep this a sustained ride all around.