I read about Peter May’s “Freeze Frame” (2010) on Lesa Holstine’s blog and decided right away that I wanted to read it. I don’t do ratings, but if I did, this book would get a WOW. Even my 5-year-old could tell that I was into this one (she asked me if I finished that book I really liked yet).
What made it so intriguing?
First, it’s got a great premise. Forensics expert Enzo McLeod is attempting to solve all the unsolved cold cases profiled in a book written by a friend; this is the fourth of seven cases. In this one he travels to a cold and unwelcoming Channel island to solve the mysterious death of an elderly man who was dying of cancer anyway. Just before his murder, Adam Killian called his daughter-in-law and told her he’d left an important message for his son in his study, and begged her not to touch a thing until the son returned from Africa. Unfortunately for all concerned, not only was Adam killed (as he’d evidently suspected would happen), but his son died in a car accident before he returned to find the message. Twenty years later, Enzo visits the still-untouched study to search for the clues that have eluded all previous investigators.
Second, May has created a compelling character. Enzo is a loner who seems perfectly suited to the cold and unwelcoming atmosphere of the island, although the island itself makes him claustrophobic. At the same time, he’s working on improving his relationships with his two daughters and wants to build a relationship with Charlotte, a much younger woman who’s been putting him off — I’m sure there’s more to this storyline in the previous books, but the relationship takes what would seem to be an unexpected turn in this one.
Third, I really enjoyed Freeze Frame‘s structure. The first couple of chapters introduce a character’s history, but we don’t know who he is at first (hero, villain, victim?), which means that we know just a bit more than Enzo, but not too much more and certainly not enough to solve the case. Since Enzo’s already cleared the first three unsolved mysteries, it’s not a spoiler to say he solves this one, too.
I chose the wrong series to break my tradition of always trying to start a series at the beginning. You can bet I’m going back to read Enzo Files 1-3, before 5 comes out.
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