Reading J.T. Ellison’s Nashville-set mystery series, I always find myself wanting to love the books more than I do when the final page is turned.
It’s not that they’re bad, per se. It’s just that the stories can be so unfocused that it makes for a frustrating reading experience.
Unfortunately, "The Cold Room" is no exception. Starting off with a serial killer who poses his victims after famous works of art is an intriguing staring point. Removing Taylor Jackson for her team and comfort zone as she tries to solve this mystery and deal with the new departmental restructuring has its moments.
What doesn’t is the second half of the story when things start to derail a bit. For one thing, the novel is far too happy to shift into the pages of a torrid romance thriller at a moment’s notice. One moment Taylor is at the scene of a horrific crime, the next she or her boyfriend are reflecting on each other. And that’s even before a third party shows up to create a bit of a love-triangle.
Add in a new departmental chief who is primarily a road-block to Taylor, the story of the serial killings and a trip to Italy and you’ve got a lot of threads. Unfortunately, the story jumps from point to point and while some threads are resolved, many are left dangling when the last page is turned.
It all adds up to a novel that should be a lot more fun than it is. Instead, it’s just frustrating. There’s a good, solid story in here. It just needs a bit more editing and polish.