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Crescent Blues Book ViewsAvon Books (Paperback), ISBN 0-06-105377-5

When Robin Burcell writes about criminal investigations, she puts into practice the age old advice to write about what one knows best. After serving in many capacities in law enforcement for more than twenty years, she writes with a realism achieved only through first hand experience.

Book: robin burcell, cold case
In Cold Case, the fourth in her series of Kate Gillespie adventures, Burcell takes her readers through the intricacies of an intriguing homicide investigation fraught with perplexing mistaken identities and filled with puzzling relationships and absorbing plot twists

Investigator Kate Gillespie remains haunted by the memories of a three year old murder investigation during which she suffered gun shot wounds that nearly took her life. The police never discovered the identity of the shooter, and the case files languish on the shelf. In a determined attempt to move the case forward, Gillespie books an appearance on a local television program which deals with unsolved mysteries. Gillespie's appearance on the show results in a phone call from an unidentified caller who possesses information not released to the public.

The caller directs Gillespie to a public meeting place for a discussion of additional information. As the meeting begins, a robbery at a bank across the street results in the death of a bank customer, the escape of the shooter and the disappearance of the informant. Frustrated at the interruption of her conversation and the flight of the informant, Gillespie couldn't guess these seemingly unconnected incidents might actually relate to one another in unexpected ways.

The link between the two incidents gradually becomes apparent with the appearance of FBI Agent Mike Torrance. Torrance, Gillespie's "on-again, off-again almost flame," relates the FBI's interest in the Bay Trust Mutual Bank where the robbery and murder occurred. Local crime boss Nick Paolini and his mysterious wife appear to bridge the gap. As the two investigations merge, Gillespie finds herself caught up in a complex mix of organized crime, drugs, prostitution and diamond theft. An unwelcome alliance with Paolini places her in personal jeopardy, and in a hauntingly similar reprise to the earlier cold case, she once again must face the possibility of becoming the prey rather than the hunter.

I like Inspector Gillespie. She comes across as intelligent, resourceful, dedicated, and personable. She also possesses a modicum of reserve and self-doubt when it comes to personal affairs. That adds a nice touch to her humanity.

After reading the book's dedication, preface, and acknowledgments, I'm convinced I would like Robin Burcell as well. My informants tell me the best way to introduce myself to the Kate Gillespie series requires beginning at the beginning and reading the novels in order. Since this episode serves as my introduction to both author and protagonist, I forfeited that option when I read the first page. That won't deter me, however, from eagerly writing down those missed titles on my must read list.

Clint Hunter

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