Review: “Cold,” by John Sweeney

Pros: Came together very well
Cons: Starts out a bit confusing; why is Joe so dense about Reilly?
Rating: 4 out of 5

John Sweeney’s Cold (A Joe Tiplady Thriller) started out with enough plot threads and parallel subplots that I got a tad confused. However, the author deftly weaves all those threads together as the book gets further on, turning it into a fascinating thriller.

The narrative moves around a lot, taking place everywhere from Siberia to Utah. An old, retired general wants to find out what happened to his (presumably dead) daughter. Joe and his dog, Reilly, are chased by some very bad people with uncertain goals. When Joe gets captured, his captors most want to know where his dog is! A young woman named Katya joins Joe in his flight, and as they run they start to fall for each other. Reikhman is a cruel torturer with little patience and an unfortunately active imagination who tirelessly pursues our heroes.


It seems like Joe should have realized very early on that it was Reilly, the dog, that everyone was trying to catch–he started out only as a means to an end. People capture him and straight-out interrogate him about Reilly, and he still doesn’t seem to get it.

For those who want to avoid gore, read another book. The torture in here is graphic and, well, inventive. There’s torture of both humans and animals.

At first I felt a bit adrift, with so many characters, plot threads, and locations shifting and moving. Given how beautifully things were resolved, though, I can’t really complain. Unless I missed something (always possible), the author wrapped up the individual plots with skill. I think the pacing could have been jumped up a bit, but it seemed to be difficult to keep that up with so many characters, locations, etc. The characters, however, are quite good. One of my favorite characters is the retired general, Genaddy. I think people underestimate him because of his age (and because he doesn’t advertise being a retired ‘hero’), but there are also people who remember him and owe him.

As a thriller this is a little slow, but the extended plots at least partially make up for that.


Book provided free by publisher for review

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