Review: Cold, Cold Heart by A.J. Cross

Title: Cold, Cold Heart by A.J. Cross
Kate Hanson Series Book Five
Publisher: Severn House Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 256 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Professor Kate Hanson and the Unsolved Crime Unit unearth some shocking findings when they re-examine a 10-year-old murder case.

For the past ten years, David Lockman has been serving a life sentence for the murder of Della Harrington. Now an appeal judge has decreed the forensic evidence unsatisfactory and the original verdict unsafe.

Tasked with re-examining the case, forensic psychologist Kate Hanson and her colleagues unearth serious flaws in the original police investigation. But if Lockman didn’t kill Della Harrington, who did? As they question those involved, it becomes clear that not everyone is telling the whole truth. But have the detectives been working from the wrong assumption from the outset? In following her hunch, Kate makes a professional decision which undermines her colleagues, and threatens her very future with the Unsolved Crime Unit.


Cold, Cold Heart by A.J. Cross is a clever police procedural that is unique and quite engrossing. This newest installment in the Kate Hanson series can easily be read as a standalone.

When convicted killer David Lockman’s conviction is overturned, Dr. Kate Hanson and the rest of the Unsolved Crime Unit are assigned to investigate the ten year older murder of Della Harrington.  The original investigation was less than thorough so Detective Bernard Watts and Lt. Joseph Corrigan begin re-interviewing witnesses. Three suspects begin to emerge when they uncover troubling information about Letting Agent Leonard Dobbs, maintenance man Archie Fenton and Della’s fellow opera performer, Steffan Coultard. Watts and Corrigan are soon convinced Della’s murder might have been sexually motivated, but Kate is less certain. Will her psychological insights lead them to Della’s killer? Or will Kate’s impulsive decisions leave the UCU scrambling to solve the case without her input?

Kate is a forensic psychologist and university professor who provides invaluable information through her attention to detail and shrewd psychological interpretation of crime scenes and witnesses. She often picks up subtle clues that are overlooked and she is able to accurately assess if witnesses are being honest and forthcoming. Like Watts and Corrigan, Kate believes in Lockman’s innocence and they are determined to find justice for Della. However, she is unable to convince Watts that he is on the wrong track so she makes a fateful decision that has far-reaching implications for the case and her professional life.

Cold, Cold Heart is a suspense-laden mystery with a complex storyline and realistically drawn characters. Kate is a flawed yet sympathetic protagonist with a complicated history that continues to affect her choices in the present. Watts is a little brusque and stubborn but he values Kate’s contributions to the UCU.  Corrigan is an American police officer on special assignment with the UCU whose interest in Kate goes beyond professional. The investigation is fascinating and moves at a brisk yet realistic pace. With several possible suspects and no clear motive for Della’s murder, readers will be surprised and delighted when A.J. Cross brings the novel to a very stunning conclusion. Fans of the genre are sure to enjoy this latest addition to the Kate Hanson series.

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Filed under AJ Cross, Contemporary, Kate Hanson Series, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Severn House Publishers, Suspense

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