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Cold Water Burning [Mass Market Paperback]

John Straley
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 30 2001
Award-winning author of The Angels Will Not Care

P.I. Cecil Younger works out of Sitka, Alaska, a land of perfect beauty and not-so-perfect lives, where there is nothing more dangerous than an unsolved crime — except maybe the man trying to solve it....

Three years ago someone brutally killed four people on the scow Mygirl. In a crowded courtroom Cecil Younger helped the accused go free. Now the man charged with the Mygirl murders has disappeared. As a storm bears down on the Alaskan coast, two people connected with the case die in separate, sudden, and bizarre explosions of gunfire.

Younger is certain that someone is trying to finish the grisly job begun on the Mygirl three years earlier. But to prove it he must chase down a wooden sloop on the wind-lashed sea. Out in the lethal storm Younger will come face-to-face with the shocking truth that has already twisted so many lives — and now could end his own.

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From Amazon

Cecil Younger, the protagonist of John Straley's series of mysteries set in Sitka, Alaska, isn't exactly a slacker, but as PIs go, he doesn't invest his job with a great deal of energy or effort. In Cold Water Burning, his sixth outing, Cecil stumbles with characteristic good nature through his assignment: to find a missing man he himself helped acquit of burning a boat and killing its occupants. The man's vanished, along with $50,000 a tabloid advanced him for his version of how the crime really went down.

A talented stylist whose prose sparkles like the sun on icy tundra, Straley excels at sketching unusually picaresque characters and painting brilliant word portraits of Sitka's beautiful and unforgiving setting. All the elements are in place for a satisfying thriller--the unsolved murders aboard the Mygirl, Cecil's role in helping the accused man go free, and the anger of the victims' survivors, which ultimately places our hero in the murderer's gun sights. But they take second place to Cecil's relationship with his most trusted mentor, George Doggy, and both the plot and the pace--not exactly a breakneck ride to begin with--suffer as a consequence. There's a brilliant scene right out of The Perfect Storm as Cecil heads out on a very large ocean in a very small boat to rescue Toddy, his autistic housemate. Straley manages to stitch the somewhat ragged edges of the plot together convincingly enough, but he may need to light a fire under Cecil if he expects him to continue to carry this series. --Jane Adams --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

In this sixth Cecil Younger mystery, the low-key, rather inept PI from Sitka, Alaska, reopens an unsolved murder case. Three years earlier, Younger worked for Richard Ewers, a deckhand who was acquitted of murdering four people on the fishing scow Mygirl. Now Ewers is missing. His wife, Patricia, fearing revenge, asks Younger to find him, but the PI is hesitant because his mentor, retired police chief George Doggy, still thinks Ewers was guilty. Then a cop kills Patricia during a shootout at the trailer of Sean and Kevin Sands, whose parents were murdered on the Mygirl. A large sum of money, paid to Ewers by a tabloid newspaper, is missing, and Younger realizes he must follow its trail to discover what really happened three years before. During a climactic, white-knuckle chase at sea in the midst of a horrific storm, the easygoing Younger finds the answers, learning startling truths about trust and honesty. Straley's writing style is strong but, unlike most Alaska mystery writers (Dana Stabenow, Sue Henry), he allows the dazzling locale to serve only as background to his charactersASitka's often feckless inhabitants. The psychology of Straley's antisocial characters, like violent Kevin and emotionally damaged Sean, drives these novels as much as does the action. (Jan. 2)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Local with a bias April 8 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I will start out declaring my bias: I lived in Sitka, Alaska for 7 years (now in Juneau for the past 3) and know John and the people of Sitka well. It is for this reason actually I thought I would share something, possibily of interest, with readers or potential readers of John's work.
It was quite obvious to me that John used his latest novel not only to entertain his readers, but to tip his hat to the people of Sitka who have provided him such good material and, more importantly, friendship over the past many years.
Many of the positive side characters and a few of the main ones in this latest novel are John's friends and neighbors. If not in total, at least enough to convey a "tip of the hat" from John to them. While this is not unique to this book or John as a writer, he references so many local people and in such a way that reading the book was like watching him shake hands and pat the backs of his fellow Sitkans.
I hope readers are able to pick up on this and that it allows them to feel perhaps even more immeresed in the Sitka by the Sea John describes so well.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An atmospheric mystery Jan. 5 2001
Three years ago in Sitka, Alaska, Richard Ewers was found not guilty of the murder of two adults and two children. Many people still believe Richard killed those four people in the infamous Mygirl deaths in which the killer burned the fishing boat to destroy the evidence. Private detective Cecil Younger helped the defense on the case.

Now, Richard's wife Patricia asks Cecil to help again as her spouse is missing along with $50,000. She believes her husband's enemies from that murder case have abducted him. Following the money trail, Cecil realizes he will probably learn what really happened three years ago. However, he never expected to have to go out to sea during a terrible storm just to find the answers.

Award winning John Straley returns with a fabulous Younger tale that shows why the author deserves a much larger following. The story line uses the stark Alaskan landscape as a backdrop to a host of eccentric characters whom readers will adore in a Northern Exposure type of way. The mystery is well designed and entertaining with the action turning wild during the storm. Mr. Straley has written a first rate Alaskan mystery that will bring much pleasure to fans of the sub-genre.

Harriet Klausner
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5.0 out of 5 stars Cold Water Burning Feb. 18 2001
Once again John Straley has proved a master at intrigue and keeping the reader guessing right to the end. Most Straley fans will be happy his P.I., Cecil, has matured, has accepted new responsibilities, and can be seen as continuing to grow. The setting of Sitka, Alaska is of course spectacular. Anyone who hasn't been there will recognize the place when they go just from Straley's descriptions, and they will recogize the people as well. The story sucks you in and keeps you turning pages. The twists and turns of the plot captivate. Thanks, John, for a really good read!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't Put It Down Jan. 3 2003
By bfris
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is one of those books you find yourself reading into the wee hours of the morning. Definitely a fun read and nonstop action.
I gave it only four stars because a truly great book has interesting ideas in addition to an interesting plot. In truth, I would have given it 4.5 stars if that was an option.
Straley's books are all consistently fun to read. The earlier novels are more rich with Native American folklore. This one has an intricate plot that keeps twisting this way and that all of the way until the end.
Read this book now. You won't be sorry.
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