John Sweeney’s credentials are such to cause a reader to assume that any novel he will produce will immediately grab the reader, pull him or her into the story and keep them there. The elements are here in the details, the action and an interesting plot.
The problem is a myriad of details that take Joe Tiplady, Sweeney’s protagonist, into a dizzying array of events that make him a priceless target but cause the book to become more than a little cumbersome for the reader.
The book opens with Joe walking his dog in London, in the snow, but shadowed by two men. He is then rapidly immersed into troubles that become overwhelming. A retired Soviet general is hunting for his missing daughter. A ruthless assassin is hunting something he lost that is so precious he will do anything to get it back. And in the background is Zoba ruler of Russia and master of the world’s darkest operatives.
The ending solves the problems but is disappointing for those that have waded through the book and expect something more to the point. The details are tied together logically, possibly allowing for future Tiplady novels to become tighter and more interesting for the reader. That is if Sweeney thinks a bit smaller and doesn’t try to solve too many problems in his books.
7/16 Paul Lane
COLD by John Sweeney. Thomas & Mercer (July 1, 2016). ISBN 978-1503934221. 398p.