Cold Pursuit Mass Market Paperback – Sep 9 2004
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Why isn't T. Jefferson Parker as famous as, say, James Patterson or Robert B. Parker? He's that good, and in some ways better. In Cold Pursuit, his 11th novel, San Diego homicide cop Tom McMichael finds himself investigating the bludgeoning death of Pete Braga, a prominent city patriarch who was also a blood enemy of the McMichael family. It's a complex case fraught with political and economic pressures, ugly family history, police corruption, and multiple red herrings, made more complex by McMichael's romantic attraction to a key suspect.
Parker's writing is a pleasure from the first sentence to the last: intelligent, often quietly poetic, cliché-free, and as crisp and dry as a good Pinot Gris. Here is the book's opening paragraph, which accomplishes several scene-setting tasks while pleasing both ear and brain:
That night the wind came hard off the Pacific, an El Nino event that would blow three inches of rain onto the roofs of San Diego. It was the first big storm of the season, early January and overdue. Palm fronds lifted with a plastic hiss and slapped against the windows of McMichael's apartment. The digitized chirp of his phone sounded ridiculous against the steady wind outside.
At times the book's richly complex plot gets confusing, and some sections aren't especially suspenseful. However, every page is absorbing and affecting, and the ending is a shocker. Peopled by a teeming cast of full-blooded characters and set in a San Diego so vivid you can smell the beach and the blood, Cold Pursuit may be Parker's subtlest, most satisfying tale yet. --Nicholas H. Allison --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Parker, whose Silent Joe won an Edgar in 2001, can turn his hand to many genres: this one is a thriller with elements of family feud, and with a setting-San Diego in an unusually rainy winter-that is wonderfully moody. Homicide cop Tom McMichael is called in on the murder of wealthy old Pete Braga, a legendary local character who was once a tuna fisherman and now moves in the city's top financial circles. The problem is that his Portuguese family and McMichael's Irish one have a rivalry going back two generations. The details of that past, and the picture that emerges of two feisty old men locked into a bitter battle, are the brightest part of the book. The actual plot is more conventional: Braga's attractive nurse is an obvious suspect, so it is unwise for Tom to fall for her. Was the patriarch's killing related to local politics, or perhaps to his changed will? There are numerous red herrings-including a lurid subplot about a crooked cop and a very surprising commodity being smuggled across the border from Mexico-before the violent, rather improbable denouement. It's not unusual for a thriller to begin much better than it ends, but the more eloquent passages of Cold Pursuit make the routine ones doubly disappointing.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
If you want to learn more than you need to know about the book, read the other reviews. Better yet, read the book.
Unusual for a T. Jeff story, I did make one correct guess early on--usually I find something out when he's ready to tell me--but it didn't help much with the solution of the crime. I dismissed the clue I should have picked up.
The story is rich with solid characters and their personal, working, and family relationships. Tom McMichael investigates the murder of Pete Braga realistically, picking up leads and following them to their conclusion. And the subplots are equally well-developed--the generations-old family feud, McMichael's past involvement with Braga's granddaughter, and his on-going relationship with his son, to name but a few.
I have no reservations in rating this book the five stars it deserves!
Author T. Jefferson Parker delivers another exciting mystery. McMichael, with his conflicted feelings toward the nurse, his ex-wife, and the victim's daughter who was his childhood sweetheart and is single again, makes a strong and sympathetic character. A second case, involving smuggling contraband from Mexico adds complexity to the plot without taking the focus from Pete's murder. The nasty cops from internal affairs, sticking their noses into other cop's business feel authentic.
When I read my first T. Jefferson Parker book (see our review of THE BLUE HOUR) I suspected that I had found a real talent. COLD PURSUIT convinces me that I was right. It is a wonderful and authentic police thriller. Parker delivers emotional depth, thoughtful police work, and exciting action in a tightly worded package. If you haven't discovered Parker, you are in for a treat and COLD PURSUIT delivers. If you're already a fan, you won't be disappointed. COLD PURSUIT is fully up to the high standards that Parker has set for himself.
Unanswered questions from the past frame the narrative. No one is quite what he or she appears as Detective Tom McMichael and his partner Hector Paz endeavor to unravel the truth about the murder of eighty-four year old San Diego patriarch Pete Braga.
There are three generations of bad blood between the Portuguese Bragas and the Irish McMichaels. McMichael's basic decency and personal code eliminate any chance of a clouded judgement.
There is no shortage of suspects: City Council members, the Catholic Diocese, a smuggling ring, the police force, members of either family---any of them could have done it.
As McMichael exhumes the past to explain the current crime, you can never anticipate what is coming next.
Each and every clue seems conflicting...altering newfound clarity into opaqueness in the turn of a page.
Wonderful misdirection. To paraphrase Inspector Clouseau: "I suspected everyone and I suspected no one."
A powerful ending. Do not miss this one.
McMichael's lieutenant offers him the case but lets him know he can decline. He thinks it over for just a moment and accepts the case.
McMichael is now in "Cold Pursuit" of Pete Braga's killer, the same man who killed his grandfather in 1952. Braga was an ambitious man in life, with a net worth of a little over 12 million dollars. He served as mayor of San Diego, was the Port Commissioner and part of the Tuna Boat Foundation.
The elder McMichael worked for Braga on his tuna fishing boat. They had argued over wages and got into a physical brawl, which ended with the death of McMichael's grandfather. Braga claimed it was self-defense and never served any time for the death.
The McMichaels believed that he killed in cold blood. The feud continued with the Bragas believing that as payback, Gabriel McMichael, then thirteen-years-old, attacked Pete Braga's son, Victor, and beat him so bad that he was left with the mentality of a ten-year-old.
Tom McMichael grew up knowing both sides but never having proof of either. He had once been in love with Braga's granddaughter and both families had ended the young lovers' affair.
Tom eventually met Stephanie, married and had a son, Johnny. After seven years together, they divorced and he was still reeling a year later.
Totally devoted to his son, he felt he would never adjust to the weekend and Wednesday night visits. He wanted to be a full-time father to his son. He was still single though Stephanie had remarried a dentist, the same one she'd had the affair with before the divorce had been final.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Tom McMichael is a San Diego homicide detective, no problem until businessman Pete Braga is murdered. Read morePublished on April 20 2004 by Beverly J. Scott
As far as I know, T. Jefferson Parker is the first one to use "brain thorn" to describe a condition we all suffer when something is right on the tip of our toungue. Read morePublished on Dec 3 2003
Edgar Award-winner Parker ("Silent Joe") manages to do something a little different each time out and his eleventh is a police procedural made personal by family feuding. Read morePublished on April 29 2003 by Lynn Harnett
T. Jefferson Parker deserves to be even more famous than he is. I write and I read everything in his genre and for my money there is no better stylist than Parker. Read morePublished on April 15 2003 by David L. Colgrove
In 1952 San Diego, a Braga killed a McMichael in what was called self-defense. A few months later Pete Braga's son Victor was beaten up so severely that he sustained brain damage. Read morePublished on April 5 2003 by Harriet Klausner