Title: Cold Run
Author: Michael Dault
Genre: Crime / Thriller
In Cold Run, Cy Ford is a conservation officer turned drug-runner who is eagerly awaiting Christmas. He can finish the last of the runs he’s agreed to and return to a quiet life of tending to his sled dogs. But when a turf war breaks out, Ford knows there’s no turning back and he is forced to pick a side that could cost him his money, reputation, and life.
Cold Run takes off right away. From the start, the stakes are made clear, and it wastes no time to get to the meat and potatoes of the story. The plot’s structure and story beats combined with the unique setting and distinct atmosphere, and, of course, the charismatic cast of sled dogs, create the perfect recipe for a future movie adaptation.
The book uses third person omniscient narration, so readers get the chance to experience every character’s perspective. The constant change of perspective keeps tensions high and maintains the fast pace while preventing the plot from unraveling too quickly. We’re given all the information we need at the right time, through the right character. There are plot twists abound, especially in the second half of the book, each of them creating a surprising, dramatic, and thrilling turn in the story’s direction.
The highlights of the book are the (many) antagonists. Everywhere our main characters turn, someone is out to get them. Each villain is more ruthless than the last, and they keep upping the ante. Through their perspectives, we learn about the antagonists’ personal lives, their motivations, and their needs to be the top dog.
One of the most powerful scenes in the book is during a heated argument between our antagonists Ray and his father. This powerful, emotional scene with the antagonist demonstrates the internal stakes for Ray. Beyond the status and clout, Ray seeks acceptance from his father, and, at his core, he seeks acceptance from himself.
The first half of the book has all the setup necessary to execute a story that exceeds expectations and defies clichés, but around the three-quarters mark, the book’s organization changes, and the flow of the story is muddied. There are sudden flashbacks that are expository and don’t provide the reader with the plot progression and concrete clarity that they need at this late stage in the story. The new information we learn from these flashbacks add color to the characters but ultimately don’t drive the plot forward to its conclusion.
One thing readers will never grow tired of is the abundance of fight scenes and intense stand-offs throughout the book. Each fight is in a unique location, with new weapons, motives, and characters in them. This range and diversity in the action scenes keeps readers on their toes, as well as serves a vital purpose in developing the plot and character relationships.
It’s life or death in this action-packed thriller where drugs, money, and power rule above all. Set in the dead of winter in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Cold Run is the surprising adventure novel that will take readers on a ride through the snow unlike any other. Cold Run pushes the boundaries with its unique cast of characters, exciting plot, and bold execution.
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