No Colder Place
by S. J. Rozan

St. Martin's: 1997
$23.95, 288pp.
ISBN: 031216811X

Review by Harriet Klausner

Chuck DiMathis asks fellow New York City private detective Bill Smith to take on a case that he was hired to solve, but has no time to work on. Crowell Construction is losing a vast load of supplies and equipment at an alarming rate for pilferage. Even a front loader has been stolen. A twenty-two years old construction worker has also vanished without a trace. Bill accepts the job and goes undercover, working as a brick mason at the company's current construction site. His sometimes partner Lydia Chin works in the front office as a secretary trying to learn what she can from an management/administration level.

The investigation turns ugly when the murdered corpse of the missing worker is found inside an elevator shaft. Soon after that the lead suspect takes a swan dive off the building during a contrived, well designed "rio t". Lydia and Bill realize that someone has set them up as pawns in a chess game. Knowing that they are being maneuvered by a grandmaster does not stop the duo from trying to insure that justice occurs even though their actions take them to places that put Bill and Lydia in grave danger.

No Colder Place is a hard boiled crime novel in the tradition of McBain and McDermid. The term Black Noir was coined with a story like this in mind. The tone of the novel is gritty and bleak as it reflects the dark s ide of human nature. The only hope for Bill's redemption lies with Lydia, a fact that the intrepid private investigator realizes but is unable to act upon because he cannot shake his social lethargy. This novel would make a great movie in the tradition of Marlow (The Big Sleepor Farewell, My Lovely).

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