There’s always a mixture of excitement and fear when I try a new-to-me author – will I discover a treasure or not? Sadly, Cold Pursuit is a “not.” It wasn’t bad in the beginning and had a plot that I generally enjoy – the main characters were completely in love with each other as teenagers, but were driven apart by parents. Yet an interesting premise soon proved incredibly boring, and the suspense arc was ridiculous and unbelievable.
Jo Harper grew up in Black Falls, Vermont, but always wanted to escape small-town life. She was madly in love with her boy-next-door, Elijah Cameron. After high school graduation, the two snuck into one of the Cameron’s cabins and had a magical weekend where they promised to love each other forever. But Elijah’s father shattered the magic when he burst in on them and kicked Elijah out of his home. Elijah immediately entered the army, while Jo grew up and became a Secret Service agent, but neither was able to forget the other. Now, Elijah is back home recuperating from a near-fatal battle wound and investigating the suspicious death of his father. Jo also comes back home after being exiled from Washington D.C. for publicly chewing out the VP’s son when he pulls a prank on her. These two aren’t the only people back in Black Falls. A killer has returned to take care of some loose ends.
As I mentioned before, the book begins well enough, but became increasingly boring and silly about a third of the way through. Jo starts acting annoying, butting into situations when she has absolutely no right to do so. I guess it was supposed to be part of her Secret Service persona, but I just found her bossy and nosy. By the way, the reader is told repeatedly that Jo is a federal agent and Elijah is a Special Forces soldier, just so we remember how special they are, yet evidence(aside from these reminders) of their super-special training is sadly lacking.
It would be difficult to describe all the random, unbelievable connections between practically every single character and the suspense plot involving a group of assassins. In fact, those connections were never satisfactorily explained, so I can’t pass on what I don’t know. But, two teenagers become involved in the plot and basically run away into the mountains during a snow storm. So, Jo and Elijah chase after them to keep them safe and extract information they think the kids have about the group of killers. The weird thing is that Jo and Elijah would hike up the mountain, find one of them, ask a question or two, then come back down, leaving the teen to his or her own devices. Then, they’d again decide to protect the kids, climb back up, find one, then let the kid get away with the thought that they’re old enough to take care of themselves. It didn’t make any sense.
Actually, not much of the story made sense. There were way too many players and several of them logically should not have been connected to the assassination plot. This also meant that there was a lot of POV-jumping, which made things much more erratic than they had to be. Normally, when I’m reading a good suspense, I’m finding the clues and trying to figure out the mystery, but I wasn’t able to do that here. Sometimes I had no idea where the author was going and found the jumble of information rather confusing. I wasn’t involved in the story, I was just along for the ride, and if it wasn’t necessary to finish the book, I would have bailed around the half-way point.
The erratic nature of the story extended to the romance. One minute the heroine thinks that she shouldn’t start anything with Elijah and the next she’s flinging herself at him with no explanation for the sudden change of heart. The relationship felt rather dispassionate, which might have had something to do with the fact that it was very brief, due to the excessive time spent in other people’s heads. The couple kept thinking that there were reasons for them not to be together, but I never saw a legitimate one. Really, there was nothing keeping them apart but the supposed need for some kind of romantic conflict.
If I were to describe what was missing from Cold Pursuit in one word, I would say believability. No aspect of the story was cohesive; everything was an illogical mess. I couldn’t believe in the romance or the suspense (I also couldn’t believe the ridiculous role of all the book’s teenagers). Much too often I wondered what the big deal was, why the characters cared so much about an issue. When you think “So what?” over and over, it’s a good indication that you didn’t connect with a story. Basically, the only thing I cared about was when the book would end.