Reviews for The coldest case

Library Journal
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Haines's Independent Bones features PI Sarah Booth Delaney, caught up with protecting a visiting professor of Greek literature at Ole Miss whose radical feminism may have sparked murder (40,000-copy first printing). In Jonasson's latest, Una is teaching in a remote Icelandic village when she discovers dark secrets the polite if distant villages have kept hidden for generations—perhaps involving The Girl Who Died (50,000-copy first printing). A peasant girl is murdered in a northern Chinese village, and exiled inspector Lu Fei takes the case in Klingborg's Thief of Souls (75,000-copy first printing). Brought back by Lupica in 2018, PI Sunny Randall investigates the suicide of best friend Spike's 20-year old niece in Robert B. Parker's Payback. In 1910, a senior barrister is found dead in a notorious London slum, and junior barrister Daniel Pitt endangers his family by investigating in Perry's Death with a Double Edge. In Walker's The Coldest Case, applying the facial reconstruction tools used on ancient skulls to the skull of a long-dead murder victim leads Bruno, chief of police in fictional town in the Dordogne, to the activities of a Cold War-era Communist organization. With A Peculiar Combination, Louisiana librarian Weaver detours from her beloved Amory Ames books to launch a new series starring Electra "Ellie" McDonnell, who cracks safes with locksmith uncle Mick to make ends meet in World War II England and agrees to help the government when she's caught (40,000-copy first printing).


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

St. Denis chief of police Bruno Courreges helps his mentor solve a case thats puzzled him for decades.Chief Detective Jalipeau, known to his closest friends as J-J, keeps a skull on his desk in the South of France. Not as a memento mori but as a reminder that as far as hes risen, theres still one casehis firstthat hes been unable to solve. Then Bruno gets a brain wave. While looking at displays of Neanderthals in the local museum, he wonders: Why cant whoever restored these primitive folk help J-J reconstruct Oscar, as he calls his bony souvenir? Bruno tracks down anthropologist Elisabeth Dayns, who recommends Virginie, a graduate student whos ready for a new challenge. While Virginie is hard at work re-creating Oscars musculature, Bruno has a second idea. Why not trace Oscars DNA through modern data banks? He quickly gets a hit and just as quickly hits a wall. Oscar had a son, a soldier named Louis Castignac, who was recently killed in action in Mali. As Castignacs half sister, Sabine, who happens to be a gendarme, helps Bruno try to figure out who her brother's biological father was, Bruno deals with a host of other entanglements. His cousin Alain is getting married. His basset hound, Balzac, has just sired a litter, and he wants to choose two perfect homes for the puppies he will receive as a stud fee. His journalist friends Gilles and Jacqueline have caused a stir by publishing articles about the Rosenholz dossier, a secret document containing names of French agents who worked for the Stasi. Perhaps most urgent, drought has threatened St. Denis with wildfires, and Bruno must band together with the other villagers to protect their farms and their homes. An overdose of subplots blunts the impact of the main event. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

St. Denis chief of police Bruno Courreges helps his mentor solve a case that’s puzzled him for decades. Chief Detective Jalipeau, known to his closest friends as J-J, keeps a skull on his desk in the South of France. Not as a memento mori but as a reminder that as far as he’s risen, there’s still one case—his first—that he’s been unable to solve. Then Bruno gets a brain wave. While looking at displays of Neanderthals in the local museum, he wonders: Why can’t whoever restored these primitive folk help J-J reconstruct Oscar, as he calls his bony souvenir? Bruno tracks down anthropologist Elisabeth Daynès, who recommends Virginie, a graduate student who’s ready for a new challenge. While Virginie is hard at work re-creating Oscar’s musculature, Bruno has a second idea. Why not trace Oscar’s DNA through modern data banks? He quickly gets a hit and just as quickly hits a wall. Oscar had a son, a soldier named Louis Castignac, who was recently killed in action in Mali. As Castignac’s half sister, Sabine, who happens to be a gendarme, helps Bruno try to figure out who her brother's biological father was, Bruno deals with a host of other entanglements. His cousin Alain is getting married. His basset hound, Balzac, has just sired a litter, and he wants to choose two perfect homes for the puppies he will receive as a stud fee. His journalist friends Gilles and Jacqueline have caused a stir by publishing articles about the Rosenholz dossier, a secret document containing names of French agents who worked for the Stasi. Perhaps most urgent, drought has threatened St. Denis with wildfires, and Bruno must band together with the other villagers to protect their farms and their homes. An overdose of subplots blunts the impact of the main event. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

A Neanderthal skull in a museum case leads to the solution of a 30-year-old homicide in Walker's sixteenth entry in his Bruno, Chief of Police, series. The charming hero, Bruno Courrèges, police chief for the Vézère Valley in the Dordogne region of southwestern France, is a man of many and deep enthusiasms. Archaeology, especially in this region, which contains the Lascaux caves, is one of them. The reconstructed prehistoric skull leads Bruno to consult experts about doing a facial reconstruction on the cold-case murder victim’s skull, still kept in the police evidence room. Walker presents forensic science masterfully, in a case that reaches out to ethical considerations about what revealing the victim’s identity could do to his surviving family. But Walker really shines in portraying the Dordogne—and Bruno’s idyllic life there, including early-morning runs or early-evening gallops on horseback in the country surrounding his farmhouse; his knowledge of wines; his socializing with friends in amazing restaurants or at their Monday evening dinner parties; and his forays into a countryside of castles, variegated landscapes, markets, and museums of prehistory. New readers to the series can comfortably start here—Walker has the rare ability in a series writer of orienting old and new readers alike. A feast.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

A Neanderthal skull in a museum case leads to the solution of a 30-year-old homicide in Walker's sixteenth entry in his Bruno, Chief of Police, series. The charming hero, Bruno Courrèges, police chief for the Vézère Valley in the Dordogne region of southwestern France, is a man of many and deep enthusiasms. Archaeology, especially in this region, which contains the Lascaux caves, is one of them. The reconstructed prehistoric skull leads Bruno to consult experts about doing a facial reconstruction on the cold-case murder victim’s skull, still kept in the police evidence room. Walker presents forensic science masterfully, in a case that reaches out to ethical considerations about what revealing the victim’s identity could do to his surviving family. But Walker really shines in portraying the Dordogne—and Bruno’s idyllic life there, including early-morning runs or early-evening gallops on horseback in the country surrounding his farmhouse; his knowledge of wines; his socializing with friends in amazing restaurants or at their Monday evening dinner parties; and his forays into a countryside of castles, variegated landscapes, markets, and museums of prehistory. New readers to the series can comfortably start here—Walker has the rare ability in a series writer of orienting old and new readers alike. A feast.


Publishers Weekly
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A 30-year-old cold case drives Walker’s agreeable if somewhat unsuspenseful 14th novel featuring Bruno Courrèges, a police chief in France’s Périgord region (after 2020’s The Shooting at Château Rock). Soon after the discovery of the badly decomposed remains of a male in his 20s in a wooded area, J-J, Bruno’s obsessive fellow officer, deduced from the victim’s skull, which J-J personally boiled to preserve, that the man was bludgeoned to death. Bruno now has the idea of using facial reconstruction technology to try to identify the victim. Bruno and J-J’s efforts lead them to a mysterious wine maker and a defunct vocational school that was possibly funded by the Stasi, the East German spy agency. The stakes rise as officials in Paris take an interest in the case. The pastoral pleasures of provincial life, as reflected in the many lyrical descriptions of food and wine, tend to overshadow the detective work, and Bruno’s wise and sterling character stretches credulity, but these are quibbles. Fans of lighter police procedurals will be well satisfied. Agent: Stephanie Cabot, Gernert Agency. (May)

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