The Coldest Fear
Grade : B

The Coldest Fear is the third book in Debra Webb’s Shades of Death series featuring police detective Bobbie Gentry and Nick Shade, a mysterious man who has dedicated his life to hunting down serial killers. Since this book does not stand well on its own, I suggest picking up the first two books in the series before starting this one. You’ll understand the characters and the choices they make so much better that way.

Bobbie Gentry is finally starting to live again. It’s been almost a year since her husband and son were killed, and, while she hasn’t exactly come to terms with her losses, Bobbie is beginning to realize her life can still have meaning. She’s a valued police detective, responsible for putting several well-known criminals behind bars, and the fact that she managed to survive two run-ins with the notorious serial killer known as The Storyteller has granted her a great deal of credibility in her field. And then there’s Nicholas Shade, the man who helped bring her out of the pit of darkness she was on the verge of giving into not that long ago.

When the story opens, Bobbie is traveling to Savannah, Georgia to investigate a cold case. She’s not exactly sure why her expertise is needed, but she’s willing to help. Plus, she’s heard rumors that Nick might be in Savannah, and she desperately wants to see him again. She feels she owes him a debt of gratitude after he saved her life, but, more than that, she is a little worried about him. Nick is the son of convicted serial killer Randolph Weller who has recently escaped from prison and Bobbie is pretty sure Weller is looking for Nick in hopes of persuading him to give into the darkness Randolph is convinced lives just beneath the surface of Nick’s fragile consciousness.

Thirty-two years earlier, five children went missing and have never been heard from again. Now, a local veterinarian and his wife have been found brutally murdered. In the pet cemetery not far from where their bodies were found are four graves containing tiny bones. It soon becomes apparent that four of the missing children have been located, but what about child number five?

Pretty soon after she starts looking into the case, Bobbie becomes convinced Weller has something to do with what’s going on. I found this leap to be a little too convenient, but I was able to suspend my disbelief enough to go with it. Weller is a very devious individual who is connected to an enormous network of serial killers who apparently communicate with one another about their various kills. Is it possible Weller could lead her to the person responsible for the deaths of the missing children? Bobbie thinks the answer is an unequivocal yes, and once she gets an idea in her head, she runs with it, consequences be damned.

What follows is a rollercoaster ride of suspense sure to keep readers engrossed. Ms. Webb knows how to craft chilling plots that don’t let up until the very end of the novel. The twists and turns the story takes are masterfully unpredictable without crossing the line into the unbelievable.

Both Nick and Bobbie are damaged people who have devoted their lives to keeping the world safe in whatever ways they can. They work well together and complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses perfectly. It’s pretty obvious they both have inner demons they’re still battling, and I cheered them on all the way. Bobbie’s savior complex makes her difficult to empathize with at times, but I thought she made remarkable strides toward putting it to rest as she matches wits with a dangerously brilliant killer.

So, why didn’t I give the The Coldest Fear a higher grade? I like my romantic suspense to be a pretty even split between romance and suspense, and unfortunately, the romance here is pretty close to non-existent. It’s obvious Nick and Bobbie have strong feelings for one another, and I can definitely understand why they are both wary of taking things too fast, but to call this a slow burn romance is a stretch. Basically, these two are friends and colleagues with a deep connection and a lot of baggage that stands in the way of their happiness. Since this is the third book in the series, I hoped for a little more progress in the romance department, and the fact their relationship hasn’t progressed much was a pretty big disappointment.

If you are looking for something that is more mystery than romance, The Coldest Fear and the previous novels in this series will probably work well for you, but, if you’re looking for something that is heavier on the romance, I recommend you give this book a pass. I am invested enough in the series to pick up the next installment when it’s released despite the difficulties I had with this one. There’s a lot to enjoy here, if you can get past a few hurdles.

Buy Now: A/BN/iB/K

Reviewed by Shannon Dyer

Grade: B

Book Type: Romantic Suspense

Sensuality: N/A

Review Date : August 27, 2017

Publication Date: 08/2017

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Shannon Dyer

I'm Shannon from Michigan. I've been an avid reader all my life. I adore romance, psychological fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and the occasional memoir. I share my home with my life partner, two dogs, and a very feisty feline.
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