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Stone Cold Heart

By: Caz Frear
Narrated by: Jane Collingwood
Series: Cat Kinsella, Book 2
Length: 12 hrs and 17 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (55 ratings)

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Summary

A fractured marriage. A silent family. A secret that connects them all.  

When DC Cat Kinsella is approached by Joseph Madden for help with his wife, Rachel, there's not much she can do. Joseph claims that Rachel has been threatening him but can't - or won't - give Cat details as to why. 

Dismissing it as a marriage on the rocks, Cat forgets about it. That is until Naomi Lockhart, a young PA, is found dead after a party attended by both Joseph and Rachel, and Joseph is arrested for the murder. Joseph says his wife is setting him up. His wife says he didn't do it. The trail of evidence leads to even more questions....

Adulterer. Murderer. Victim. Who would you believe?

©2019 Caz Frear (P)2019 W. F. Howes Ltd

Critic reviews

"Stone Cold Heart confirms Caz Frear as a crime fiction force to be reckoned with. A gripping, layered story - and a last line that left me desperate to read the next Cat Kinsella adventure!" (Erin Kelly, author of Broadchurch)

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Beauty Among the Beasts!

You know, there is a quite special quality about what Caz Frear is doing with her books. In amongst some pretty nasty crimes she has set a beautiful character, DC Cat Kinsella. She is beautiful because she has a massively down-to-earth vibe about her, she's not perfect, she has concerns that range from the mundane to the extraordinary. There is a definite hint of the Bridget Jones about her though this is never overdone or allowed to detract from the seriousness of the storyline or descend into farce. This is no rom-com, Kinsella also has an inner toughness and she works in a tough world.

There are some things here that are more typical of the modern detective genre, a troubled past and a difficult, actually very difficult, family background for example but apart from the softer character approach Freer also quite refreshingly provides Cat with competent and caring superiors rather than the usual angry incompetents. It means that there is a very refreshing normality at the centre of all the harsh criminality which for me added a feel of honest realism.

The story itself is an intriguing mystery, there's very little action to speak of, it's all about the investigation. While it's not what I would call fast-moving Frear spends a lot of time on the investigating officers and their theories. The scenes I most enjoyed came in the police interviews that were conducted where Cat shows some real steel. I really liked the fact that the book spent some time with the interviews giving them proper attention.

The performance by Jane Collingwood is absolutely top-notch, she gets Cat to a 'T' and she is able to purvey both male and female characters with considerable aplomb which isn't something you can say about most narrators whichever sex they are!

So, in summary, not an action-packed thriller but an extremely satisfying read with genuine depth of character and sense of place. The interrogation scenes, in particular, stood out to me as did Cat, her bosses and several of the other lead characters. This book completes its own story and at the end sets the scene for more to come, I suspect much more! Cat's life doesn't look like getting any easier . . .

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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The Cat Kinsella Legend Continues - FAB!

It seemed a very long 18 month wait for this second book from the brilliant Caz Frear but it was so well worth and and cleverly written so new readers can jump into this second outing for Detective Cat Kinsella without reading Sweet Little Lies first and indeed then can equally then enjoy it afterwards. Bonus!
Indeed I am looking forward to re-reading Sweet Little Lies while waiting for the next adventure which this book left me gasping for with it's enigmatic end teaser.
Stone Cold Heart is just such a gem and so naturally told it just draws you in so you just buckle up for the twisting turning ride rather than enjoying the skilful seamless writing, multilayered characters and intricate plots and subplots and this total immersion in a mystery is the hallmark of a top class thriller and a true and rare talent.
Excellent narration by Jane Collingwood, as in book one, though as Cat was born and brought up in Ireland it would have a bit more bite and authenticity if narrated by an Irish Actor who would know Kinsella's Irish pronunciation is KinSELER not the anglicised KINsellA.
However when one is presented with such a fabulous confection as Stone Cold Heart so skilfully and seamlessly crafted by such an amazing writing talent as Caz Frear,it does not really matter if the cherry on top is Glace or Morello ........ it is still the most divine moreish treat and I was delighted to devour every last fiendishly plotted crumb of it.
Highly recommended, and head and shoulders above the average Detective Murder Mystery Thriller.
5 stars ++++++++++

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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A great read/listen

Another great book by Caz Frear. Well drawn characters, a great plot, well written and excellent narration.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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What a great yarn!

Gripping story and believable characters. Twists and turns of a murder investigation..
The narrator is amazing, best narration I’ve heard.
Highly recommended.

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Layered page turner

It’s hard to put this book down. There is so much going on - there’s the story and then there’s the STORY. One is the crime and investigation the other is the complex live of Cat Kinsella. While it all sounds confusing it isn’t - the writing is superb creating memorable characters and while the two stories are very much intertwined they are also very delineated.

This is book two and this is not the kind of crime saga that you can pick up and read in any order. You have to read book one or you will miss most of the STORY.

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Superb

I haven't read the first book in the series, but that didn't spoil my enjoyment of this one!

Caz Frear has given us a gritty police procedural set in London and revolving around a dysfunctional family, none of whom can be trusted! The book is intricately and very cleverly plotted and I loved Ms Frear's writing style. It is paced just right and immediately drew me in and didn't let go.

I love the character of Cat Kinsella, who has a very interesting backstory. She's feisty but sensitive, and not afraid to break the rules. I loved the relationship between her and the older DS Luigi Parnell, who is a bit like a father figure to Cat, and who I found adorable. I also liked the character of Cat's DCI, Kate Steele.

The narration by Jane Collingwood was brilliant and definitely added to my enjoyment of the book.

I will definitely be reading/listening to Book 1 to discover more about Cat's backstory, and future books will be snapped up.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

You Always Protect Family

Clearly from the same stable as book one in the series. Set in central London, we follow a murder investigation from the perspective of DC Cat Kinsella of Murder Investigation Team 4. The story is linear and told using the first person present tense. There's no jumping about between time periods and there's lots of dialogue so it's rather like listening to a radio play in real time.

You don't have to have listened to book one before this one, but it would help. This book only briefly explains what previously went on between Cat, her father, Marianne and Cat's "Uncle Frank" from Ireland, but it probably explains enough.

As with book one "Sweet Little Lies" there's quite a bit of lying going on in this book too, by the suspects and witnesses as they try to protect themselves and their families. We also hear quite a bit about the personal and working lives of Cat Kinsella and her police colleagues so they feel to us like real people.

The story gets quite exciting towards the end as the truth starts to be revealed. The very end is intriguing, and hints at the possibility of a third book to come in the series.

This is a great book if you like police investigations or books with lots of dialogue. Personally, I prefer suspense thrillers and car chases. This is not one of those, but I'm still giving it 4 stars. It is really well written and narrated.