When David Etheridge, a controversial author and scholar, returns to Eugene, Oregon for a speaking engagement, he rents an apartment from Robert McCrutchen, an old classmate from college. Robert is none too happy about this arrangement because he's involved in politics and wants to stay far away from the controversy that follows David. Robert also wants to keep a 22-year-old unsolved murder under wraps, a murder for which he and David were both investigated.
When Robert winds up dead, that old murder resurfaces and David becomes the prime suspect for both. David hires attorney Barbara Holloway and her father Frank to clear him of the murder charges.
I listened to Cold Case on audio, read by Carrington MacDuffie. The reading was nicely done.
I've not read Kate Wilhelm before and evidently this book is the eleventh book in a series with Barbara Holloway. I probably will not be clamoring to read anything else, though. Unfortunately I found Cold Case to be quite predictable and was relieved when Barbara finally locked on to the guilty party. I felt like the clues throughout were about as obvious as a large neon arrow. GUILTY *blink*blink* GUILTY *blink*blink.*
The other big factor for me was the dialogue. Much of it sounded contrived or forced, not natural or believable. When dialogue is stiff in that manner, the character development suffers. For example, there is a woman in her mid-30s in the book who sounds like she's an adolescent, not an accomplished career-woman. The one character I connected with and enjoyed the development of was Frank, Barbara's father. He's proud of his daughter but still has parental concern about her. He's an educated, insightful, wise character who has obviously learned from life's experiences.
There are several threads to the plot that seem to be left hanging. And I found myself wondering what their purposes were at all. They are definitely superfluous and could have been eliminated altogether, making the plot tighter and eliminating unanswered questions.
While it wasn't as big a factor in my opinion of Cold Case, the climax of the novel is a rather overused device. In order to avoid any spoilers, I'll refrain from describing it any further. Suffice it to say, I've seen it used often enough in books and movies that it's lost its effectiveness for me.
I wish I had more positive comments to throw out on this one, but sadly, I really was not impressed with this book. Unfortunately, you'll run in to those.