Shift work does funny things to your brain, so it was a genuine surprise to turn my phone on first thing Thursday morning and find out that Cold to the Touch had snagged the 2016 Rainbow Award for Best Lesbian Thriller/Mystery. The surprise was twofold, 1) because I’d got the dates mixed up and hadn’t expected the results for another 24 hours, and 2) because the book was up against some damn stiff competition in its category. Cold also placed third in Lesbian Fiction overall, which is bloody good going for a crime sequel running against every other lesbian book submitted (there were a lot!) 🙂
Prior to the awards themselves, the Honourable Mentions (scored 36/40 or more by an individual judge) were handed out, with Cold scooping four of those little buggers:
1) Cold to the Touch was a seamless narrative blending criminal mystery and romance. Hunter’s style is so elegant that I feel like I experienced the story, not just read it.
2) A gripping story with well-developed characters and a pace that, at times, leaves you on the edge of your seat. Very clean writing style that managed to move the plot along without bogging down the reader in trivial details as sometimes occurs in crime procedurals. Overall, very nicely done.
3) Talk about cold! Cari Hunter writes winter so that you feel the snow creep down your collar or the wind whistle through the rip in your pants. She makes you feel the ache of fatigue from three nights in a row of too little sleep, and the terror of thinking you’re losing your job, your career, your best friend, and your chance at love. I cared about Sanne from the start. Meg took a little more getting used to, but she grew on me. The crimes were bloody–very, very bloody-but realistically so, and not in an offensive way. The story is more police procedural than mystery, so don’t expect to solve who dunnit from clues. If the clues had been there, I’m pretty sure Sanne would have figured them out.
4) A long story for its genre but excellent – no wasted words, no padding, and a very satisfying conclusion to the romantic story arc from other books. I marked plot down a couple of points because the backstory could have been explained more clearly. Good characterization even in minor roles; these people are individuals, not stereotypes. Since the series protagonist has had her ups and downs I wasn’t sure if she’d be able to overcome the hurdles set up but – EXCELLENT storytelling and a real nail-biter denouement. Brava!
My thanks, as ever, to Elisa Rolle who works tirelessly to pull the awards together (and raised over $14,000 for charity), and to everyone else who helps her to keep things ticking over.