Blown by the Same Wind

Soho Crime. (Cold Storage, Bk. 2). Dec. 2022. 216p. ISBN 9781641293815. $27.95. M
Straley’s fourth “Cold Storage” novel (following What Is Time to a Pig??) reads like a cross between historical fiction and mystery, with a dose of off-the-wall weirdness thrown in for good measure. Brother Lewis, a Trappist monk, author, and accused communist sympathizer, comes to Cold Storage, AK, in the late 1960s under a cloud of suspicion. A series of break-ins also lie at the heart of the novel’s many disconnected mysteries. The author spends the first five chapters setting the scene, and the exceedingly slow pace could dissuade readers. Straley doesn’t give enough attention to the many historical events included in the story. The atrocities of the Vietnam War, Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination, the Red Scare, among other real-life events, are covered in just over 200 pages. Ultimately, the suspense picks up in the second half and ends with an abrupt but satisfying conclusion.
VERDICT This book could serve as a stand-alone novel, but readers who enjoyed the first three novels in the series will like catching up with Ellie, Slip, and the other unusual characters in Cold Storage.
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