The Coldest Case (Bruno, Chief of Police #14), by Martin Walker

September 2, 2021

The Coldest Case by Martin Walker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


It was with great hesitation that I started reading this fourteenth Bruno novel. Instalments twelve and thirteen weren’t very interesting to read – both books felt like Walker was trying to press the most absurd political issues into a nice mystery series.

Bruno also acted often pretty much out of character, making severe mistakes, mistreating people – it read like Bruno wasn’t being himself.
The cooking Bruno has always done was completely over-represented – you could literally have used all those pages as a verbatim recipe.

In “The Coldest Case”, though, this is all gone! Bruno has a pretty good idea on how to freshly approach the unsolved murder of an unidentified victim decades ago and, as in earlier books in the series, this evolves into a believable, plausible plot that properly thickens, is well-paced and encompasses everything (and everyone!) we love about Bruno, Chief of Police!

The cooking, for example, is still there but it doesn’t fill tens of pages but fits naturally into the story. Gone is the overbearing, meticulous, pedantic description on how every little thing is done but we do get to know how Bruno prepares his first vegan dinner.

Everyone – the Baron, Gilles, Fabiola, Pamela, Jack – they’re all in this book once more and play their individual role. Yes, Isabelle is back, too, but she only plays a minor role and the drama is gone. Both Bruno and she seem to have somewhat moved on with their lives even though they still are fond of each other…

Walker had some very nice, original and amusing ideas and he’s back in full creative force. His writing feels rejuvenated and it features a lightness that was missing from the previous two books.

If you like Bruno, go on and get this one and just pretend that 14 immediately succeeds 11. Fourteen literally trebuchets Bruno back into my good graces!

Four out of five stars.




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