Cold Winter Rain

Cold Winter Rain

5.0 2
by Steven P. Gregory
     
 

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Slate, a recovering lawyer who lost his family to an accident, lives on a sailboat, owns a beach bar, and occasionally helps clients recover things they have lost. Children, for example. Kris Kramer, the nineteen-year-old daughter of a Birmingham lawyer, Don Kramer, has been missing for two days when her father visits Slate in his beach bar, which isn't very busy on a

Overview

Slate, a recovering lawyer who lost his family to an accident, lives on a sailboat, owns a beach bar, and occasionally helps clients recover things they have lost. Children, for example. Kris Kramer, the nineteen-year-old daughter of a Birmingham lawyer, Don Kramer, has been missing for two days when her father visits Slate in his beach bar, which isn't very busy on a raw day in January. Kramer engages Slate to try to find Kris. But two days after Slate arrives in Birmingham, Leon Grubbs, captain of the Homicide Division of the Birmingham Police Department, calls Slate just after midnight. A murder victim lies across the railroad tracks in the no-man's-land between North and South Birmingham, Slate's business card in his pocket.

Fans of John D. MacDonald and Robert Parker will find themselves on familiar ground in this first novel of a series.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
01/27/2014
Attorney Gregory utilizes a legal background to create a complex and suspenseful slice of hard-boiled noir that honors without imitating the stylistic and thematic influences of Dashiell Hammett. Eschewing over-simplistic views of morality, the characters here wade through a dark ambiguity mirrored by bleak atmosphere, descending into homicide and emotional bankruptcy. In Birmingham, Ala., Slate, the cynical but decent lawyer-investigator struggling with the deaths of his wife and son, agrees to locate attorney Don Kramer’s daughter, Kristina, unwittingly accepting an invitation into conspiracy and cover-ups. When a murdered man is discovered with Slate’s business card, police captain Leon Grubbs casts an eye on our hard-luck hero and a routine missing person’s case becomes a race against the clock and possibly the New Orleans mob. Slate is not a mere parody of classic genre detectives. Rather, his personality is convincing and complex, skillfully revealed without slowing the action-driven plot. Clean and sharp prose delivers maximum emotional effect, and the dialogue rings true. Though he doesn’t bring anything particularly new to the genre, Slate is nevertheless destined to become a series character welcomed by aficionados of John D. MacDonald and Raymond Chandler.
Kirkus Reviews

In this debut detective novel, a kidnapping case in Birmingham, Ala., forces a retired attorney into action. High-profile lawyer Don Kramer asks Slate, his former colleague, to help him find his missing 19-year-old daughter. Slate, a beachside-bar owner, lives a quiet existence alone on a Gulf Coast houseboat, where he moved following traumatic events in his own life. He pilots his old private plane, the Albatross, to Birmingham and, almost immediately, a friend on the local police force informs him that a body was found with Slate's business card in its pocket. From that moment on, Slate digs himself deeper into the case, building tenuous relationships with the police, the FBI and people close to Kramer's family. Soon he uncovers links between them and a far-reaching oil and gas industry crime. Along the way, Slate's past follows him like a shadow, informing his movements and coloring his sense of trust. Although he has some friends and connections, he remains palpably isolated, cups of coffee as his only companions. His lone-wolf attitude leaves him vulnerable, and as the story progresses, his long-term emotional trajectory becomes entwined with the case. However, the book's imposing, rainy-season mood may be too heavy and slow-paced for some readers. Slate is a well-drawn protagonist, but most of the secondary characters lack the depth required to keep readers interested. Unlike more swiftly plotted crime novels that reach a crescendo before the final reveal, this story instead suddenly and unsatisfyingly drops off, promising to answer in a planned sequel the many questions left hanging. That said, Gregory's prose is solid, and he vividly describes both the exterior Southern landscape and the insular, interior spaces Slate inhabits. An uneven detective story with a memorable main character.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780985992811
Publisher:
Oak Mountain Press, LLC
Publication date:
07/09/2013
Pages:
238
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.54(d)

Meet the Author

Steve Gregory was born in a cotton-mill town in north Georgia. His parents moved to the family farm when he was nine. Steve earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from the University of Alabama in the early 1980s. He worked as a stockbroker for a few years, then earned a J.D. from the University of Alabama School of Law and practiced law for more than twenty years.

As a lawyer, Steve defended a couple of gentlemen facing capital murder charges. He finds writing about murder much less stressful.

Cold Winter Rain is Steve's first novel and the first of a series featuring the man called Slate.

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