#BookReview Cold, Cold Heart by Christine Poulson

Cold, Cold HeartAbout the Book

Midwinter in Antarctica. Six months of darkness are about to begin. Scientist Katie Flanagan has an undeserved reputation as a trouble-maker and her career has foundered. When an accident creates an opening on a remote Antarctic research base she seizes it, flying in on the last plane before the sub-zero temperatures make it impossible to leave.

Meanwhile patent lawyer Daniel Marchmont has been asked to undertake due diligence on a breakthrough cancer cure. But the key scientist is strangely elusive and Daniel uncovers a dark secret that leads to Antarctica.

Out on the ice a storm is gathering. As the crew lock down the station they discover a body and realise that they are trapped with a killer…

Format: ebook (272 pages)                        Publisher: Lion Hudson
Publication date: 17th November 2017 Genre: Crime, thriller, mystery

Purchase links*
Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com | Hive (supporting UK bookshops)
*links provided for convenience, not as part of any affiliate programme

Find Cold, Cold Heart on Goodreads


My Review

Cold, Cold Heart is the second book featuring research scientist Katie Flanagan but if, like me, you haven’t read the first book, Deep Water, never fear because Cold, Cold Heart works perfectly well as a standalone. There are a few references to events in the first book but not so many that I think it would spoil your enjoyment of the earlier book. (The third book in the series, An Air That Kills, has recently been published.)

The twin threads of the story, one set in Ely and the other on the Antarctic research station, are cleverly constructed (the former with the help of an unusual narrator at one point) maintaining the reader’s interest in how – and when – the two storylines will converge.

The scenes set on the research station are very realistic and clearly the product of in-depth research. I have to say I did struggle a little to differentiate between some of the male characters but I guess it’s probably the case that the demands of the job mean research scientists tend to be similar in age and physical build. However, the remoteness of the station, the inhospitable external environment and the twenty-four hours a day of darkness really help ratchet up the tension. A shift of point of view part way through injects a nicely thrilling element and the dramatic final chapters definitely kept me turning the pages right to the end.

The set-up – a remote location, shut off from the outside world with a limited number of suspects – made me think of the crime novels of Agatha Christie. I had in mind a particular book of hers for my ‘Try something similar’ recommendation below but the author beat me to it! Visiting the station’s small library in search of some light reading, Katie ‘took a dog-eared copy of And There Were None off the shelf and then had second thoughts’. So I had second thoughts as well and went for something equally appropriate I hope.

Cold, Cold Heart is an assured, atmospheric crime mystery set in a fascinating location

I’d like to thank the author for my review copy of the book and for waiting  so patiently for my review.

In three words: Atmospheric, tense, gripping

Try something similar: Evil Under the Sun by Agatha Christie

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Christine-Poulson-bwAbout the Author

Before Christine Poulson turned to crime, she was an academic with a PhD in History of Art and had published widely on nineteenth century art and literature. Her Cassandra James mysteries are set in Cambridge in the UK.

The first in her new series, Deep Water, featuring scientist Katie Flanagan, appeared in 2016. The second, Cold, Cold Heart, set in Antarctica, came out in January 2018 and the third, An Air That Kills, was published in November 2019. Her short stories. published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, CWA anthologies, and elsewhere, have been short-listed for a Derringer, the Margery Allingham Prize, and the CWA Short Story Dagger. (Photo credit: author website)

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