Cold Serial Murderby Mark Abramson
Tim Snow expected to show his visiting Aunt Ruth the wonders of San Francisco, but never expected one of the sights of the city would be the body of his ex-lover. A killer is on the loose in the Castro district. Meanwhile, Tim's cadre of quirky friends and neighbors makes life all the more interesting with their drama of weddings and lost (and found) loves. Cold Serial Murder continues the story of one of the Castro's most adorable characters. Can Tim and his Aunt uncover who the killer is before it's too late?
- Lethe Press
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.55(d)
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When Tim Snow's Aunt Ruth comes to visit him in San Francisco, she is expecting to relax and reconnect with her nephew, as well as her favorite City by the Bay. On the first day of her visit, Tim discovers the bloody body of his former lover, Jason, and a co-worker at Art's, a restaurant and bar in the Castro. It turns out to be the first of several stabbings, including another one from Tim's circle of acquaintances, apparently the work of a serial killer on which the police have no leads. One of the murders ironically provides an opportunity for Aunt Ruth to consider relocating to San Francisco permanently, but she is more worried about keeping Tim and his friends safe from harm. Can Tim's untrained psychic abilities provide a lead, or are Aunt Ruth's gut feelings about one of his neighbors the better judge of a likely suspect?
In this second of his "Beach Reading" series of light thrillers, Abramson further develops the likeable and relatable characters he introduced in that enjoyable first book (same name as the series), and again provides a story that perfectly captures the cohesive spirit of the Castro community. While mystery purists may prefer a few more "red herrings" to complicate the solving of the crime, the author obviously intends for the series to entertain rather than challenge, and it succeeds wonderfully on that level. A clang from a streetcar, and five golden stars out of five!
Tim's aunt Ruth comes to San Francisco for a visit from Minnesota. She is the family member who raised him when his mother kicked him out of his home for when the scandal between him and his high school track coach became common knowledge. Their vacation begins beautifully with a joint, great weather, and a promised ride in Jason's red, convertible Thunderbird. Together, Aunt Ruth and Tim stumble onto Jason's stabbed body, his co-worker and ex-boyfriend, in a pool of blood. Artie and Arturo hold a memorial service for Jason at their restaurant and bar Arts, where Tim stumbles onto another body, in the trunk of Arturo's car, naked among the rotting strawberries. It's Arturo's "nephew" Jorge. Because of the suspiciously close time frame of the killings and the fact that they are both murdered gay men, the community is seriously concerned and scared that there is a serial killer on the loose in the Castro. Aunt Ruth worries for Tim's safety too, when she is not around and he is out, cruising. Because of Jason's unexpected death, Arts is terribly understaffed, and Aunt Ruth finds herself filling in as the bartender at the bar, reminding her of her Stanford days. Of course, she is on vacation and doesn't need to money, but it is nice to feel and be needed. Plus, the customers love her! Viv, the piano player at Arts, is married to her new husband. (This is number six or seven. Even Viv looses track of which number she is on!) He's a tall drink of water, a cowboy, and rumored to be hung like a horse! Viv is very happy because of him, and she hopes this marriage to be the one that lasts. Tim really likes having his Aunt Ruth stay with him in his one bedroom apartment, and does not want her to get a hotel room. However, he does want to be able to bring a trick home occasionally. With her there, he isn't meeting lots of hot guys all the time as he did before. He misses being single and free. In addition, it makes getting reading to go out to eat to a fancy restaurant a little bit difficult. When she works nights at Arts, Tim is able to go out. But, he feels as if it's like sneaking out of the house, when he was a teenager. Aunt Ruth is aware of Tim's gift. They talk about how it skipped a generation, and about how much she is glad that her nephew has it instead of her. She gets caught into solving the murder mystery very easily, and to her benefit she makes a good Nancy Drew, as Tim likes to call her. The police have no clues as to who the murderer is, or a motive as to why. But the other murdered bodies from outside San Francisco make Tim and Aunt Ruth believe that the deaths are related somehow. Aunt Ruth has her suspicious eye on the mysterious Marcia. (She is Malcolm's "sister" and another of Tim's neighbors.) Tim's life seems to be making a positive turn around with his aunt visiting. The mornings they share on the porch with their coffee and surrounded by the potted flowers and plants, are the most memorable and cherished memories they make together. Tim has a great big shiny disco ball of fortuitous opportunity fall into his lap, when he, Artie, and Arturo return from the reading of Jason's will. Tim begins to make definite plans for Aunt Ruth to move and live in San Francisco, and he meets a new guy. Nick makes Tim happy, and Tim has the chance and want, to make this relationship work. (Nick works in a nursery and landscaping, like Michael Tolliver.) Tim has a visit from his last love Jason.
Having been a San Francisco resident, I loved this book. It made me homesick for my old neighborhood. I'm not sure if someone less familiar with the Castro would have the same feeling. It's a good story, and certainly written to hold your attention, but the star of the book WAS the Castro. Tim Snow seems much older than the age of the character, but other than that, there is MUCH character development here to keep this series going for a very long time. I will be first in line for the next book.