DEAD OF WINTER by Sam Brandon


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In Brandon’s debut thriller, a military man–turned-psychologist searches for a woman who went missing after the 9/11 attacks.

Tom Cavalier earned a doctorate in psychology and is now a therapist back in his old hometown of Rockland, Maine. He’d rebuilt his life following a scandal at West Point, about which a classmate wrote a bestselling book; Tom had refused to turn in a friend for cheating on a test because the same man had saved his life during 9/11. Tom became famous as a result, and one day, a man walks into his office who wants him to find his daughter, Katie Cornwell, who, he claims, may not have died—as presumed—in the twin towers disaster. Tom, who has military police experience, takes the lucrative job. It turns out that Katie did indeed survive 9/11—she wasn’t inside the World Trade Center—but chose a new life and freedom under a new name. However, she may not be the only person who has a secret identity, and as a result, Katie’s life is in danger. Thus begins a thriller that offers one of the scariest, hairiest cat-and-mouse chases in many a moon. Brandon may be a debut novelist, but he has a lot of experience writing screenplays, and it shows in this novel, which has a plot that’s like a fun-house ride. Tom is depicted as appropriately scarred by his difficult life, and his self-deprecating demeanor hides a tough resilience. Katie is portrayed as equally tough and smart, although the villain is over-the-top cartoonish—a person who “went off the deep end and couldn’t make it back to shore,” according to one of Tom’s friends. Still, this type of antagonist comes with the genre territory, and it’s all part of the fun.

Great entertainment featuring a well-developed protagonist.

Pub Date: Feb. 22nd, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-5085-9081-1
Page count: 348pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2019