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Sunday, 30 November 2014

Book review - Ice Cold

Continuing the espionage theme, Ice Cold is a new anthology of fresh short stories written by twenty members of the organisation Mystery Writers of America. It may even be considered timely to have written tales of intrigue around the Cold War; the prospect of a new version of that clandestine conflict seems imminent. As you’d anticipate, these stories deal with psychological warfare, the paranoia of the times, sleeper agents, sabotage, honey traps, and the usual paraphernalia and venues familiar to readers of espionage thrillers over the last fifty-odd years. (More or less what my Tana Standish series is attempting to do, beginning with The Prague Papers; end of plug - and plug at end).

Jeffery Deaver (co-editor) starts the ball rolling with ‘Comrade 35’, a neat exposé about the Kennedy assassination; it’s in his inimitable style, well researched, believable and with a neat twist, as you’d expect.

None of the stories are duds, though for me some resonate more than others. The writing team of Lynds and Sheldon heartbreakingly evoke a grim image of East Germany under the brutal heel of the dreaded Stasi in ‘A Card for Mother’. Sara Paretsky’s ‘Miss Bianca’ is a little girl’s perspective on research into germ warfare, cleverly told.

In ‘Crush Depth’ Brendan Dubois brings a fresh insight into the loss of the Thresher submarine, while T. Jefferson Parker exposes in ‘Side Effects’ the dangers of mind-altering drugs that were often used to subborn individuals.

Other authors included are: Gary Alexander, Raymond Benson (co-editor), Alan Cook, Vicki Doudera, Joseph Finder, JA Jance, John Lescroart, Katia Lief, Laura Lippman, Robert Mangeot, Katherine Neville, Jonathan Stone, Gigi Vernon, Bev Vincent and Joseph Wallace.

The uprising in Hungary is dealt with, and its repercussions, as is the fall-out of the Vietnam War. Religion, patriotism and romance are all affected by the looming shadow of the Cold War and brilliantly conveyed within the pages of this selection.

If you’re interested in good short story writing, this is worth reading. If you’re into Cold War fiction, you won’t be disappointed, though I think they could have found a better book title and cover design.

Please purchase from
Amazon UK here
Amazon COM here

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