The Cold Killer (DI Barton #4), by Ross Greenwood

Eight stars

Ross Greenwood is back with another captivating crime thriller that is sure to keep the reader thinking. DI Barton is ready for another unique adventure that is sure to cause issues for many, as an elusive killer is exacting a sick form of revenge. When a older prisoner is found dead in his cell, some question if it was murder, while others suspect it might have been old age. As officials begin poking around, DI Barton is called in to assist with the investigation. Things take an odd turn when the prisoner’s family home is burgled and others are hurt. Could there be a connection and if so, what is it? DI Barton will have to use all of his resources to put the pieces together and find justice that has been years in the making. Greenwood does well keeping the series going with another great novel.

The death of an older inmate at the local prison forces officials to open an investigation. Might it have been a hit of some sort, or could this simply be old age? DI Barton is called to attend the investigation and give his own perspective on what’s taking place. Barton undertakes interviewing some of the other prisoners, all of whom have long histories of child abuse. Weighing all the evidence, Barton is fairly certain that it was natural causes that brought things to an end, rather than some revenge for hurting a child.

As DI Barton continues tying up loose ends with regards to the investigation, he learns that the prisoner’s house is burgled and the widow nowhere to be found. This raises some alarms for Barton, who needs to speak with her. After a suspicious fire takes down another witness, Barton is beginning to worry that the investigation might be more complicated than first suspected.

Soon, everyone Barton hopes to interview has either gone missing or turned up dead. Might there be a killer on the loose, trying to mute a collection of people who hold a secret? As Barton rushes for answers, he discovers that he’s hot on the trail of a killer with a grudge. Tracing it all back to the prison, Barton may have found the motive, but the killer remains elusive and things are only getting more dangerous, but eerily intense. Greenwood pens another winner with this piece, sure to impress fans of the series.

I stumbled upon this series by Ross Greenwood in its infancy and have not been able to stop reading them whenever a new book is published. He finds new and exciting ways to tell a police procedural in smaller tower England, keeping the reader on the edge of their seats throughout the piece. There is something to be said for this type of novel, where a serial killer and the police are eyeing one another on opposite sides of the narrative. As usual, I thoroughly enjoyed where things went and how Ross Greenwood was able to transport the reader there.

DI Barton has grown on me throughout the series, leaving me feeling a strong connection to him throughout the series. There were some personal hurdles that had to be overcome and that contrasted nicely with the intense case management throughout the story. Barton has suffered a great deal and uses his personal issues to fuel a passion to solve crimes. There is still a great deal left to explore with Barton, which I hope takes place over the coming few novels.

Ross Greenwood has always been able to cobble together a great deal of intriguing ideas in a short period of time, leaving the reader feeling highly entertained. This piece was no exception, as the story flowed well and kept my attention throughout. The narrative clipped along and told the story of two men, in a form of cat and mouse game, while always revealing a little more about the larger story. There were a number of strong secondary characters who supported Barton and the Cold Killer well, using their uniqueness to contrast with the preponderance of cop and robber that the story begged to highlight. Plot lines worked well and kept me guessing, while I was eager to delve deeper during my reading experience. I am eager to see what else Greenwood has for readers, particularly with this series. There’s still so much to learn.

Kudos, Mr. Greenwood, for a great addition to the series. I am eager to read more, when time permits.