RogerBW's Blog

Cold Case, Linda Barnes 02 August 2022

1997 mystery, seventh in the Carlotta Carlyle series (neo-noir private investigation). Twenty-four years ago, Thea Janis was a teenage prodigy, who vanished and was believed dead. Now a client comes to Carlotta with a new chapter in her writing style…

There's something of a problem of motivation here. Carlotta mostly isn't getting paid, but nor (unlike the usual run of ethical private eye) does she have a dead client or any particular reason to believe that someone is being done out of what is rightfully theirs… at least at first; it's just her interest that keeps her going. Yes, eventually this gap is bridged, but the middle section of the book felt a little aimless to me, as we meet a variety of people who think that their money should make all their problems go away. (There are lots of them, and perhaps they are also a bit too similar.) After that long and over-slow build-up, the ending feels rushed.

This is reinforced because Carlotta's friends mostly don't show up; in a long-running series I like to get some sense of progress in relationships, and here those are mainly marking time or in one case coming apart.

It's not a bad book, but like 1995's Hardware it feels to me like just another entry in a series rather than a story in its own right.

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Previous in series: Hardware | Series: Carlotta Carlyle | Next in series: Flashpoint

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