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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.
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.
I've been a fan of Straley's books after visiting Sitka, which is where he lives. I have read them all and without question this is the best yet! Read morePublished on Feb. 6 2003 by Leslie VanEkeris
Cold Water Burning by John Straley is the latest foray of Cecil Younger the private eye. In this outing, our intrepid hero (who is on the wagon) is caught up in a nasty... Read morePublished on Oct. 17 2002 by Rafik
"Cold Water Burning" is a fine novel. John Straley's prose is
graphic and precise, at times becoming poetry--as one might guess from the title. Read more