In this conclusion to the Cold Fury series, teenage Mafiosa Sara Jane Rispoli continues her frantic search for her missing family even as the Chicago Outfit wages a bloody war against the Russian mob.
In the six months since her family’s disappearance, Sara Jane has become, if not actively comfortable with, at least accustomed to killing. Having dispatched the creepy “ice cream creatures” in Flicker & Burn (2013), Goeglein largely avoids extraneous paranormal elements, with the plot-driven exception of the scientifically ludicrous Rispoli “cold fury” gaze. Still, even this is kept in the background as the story does what the trilogy does best: explores the ins and outs of the Outfit’s secrets, particularly its fabulous network of hidden Capone doors that takes Sara Jane and her best friend, Doug, deep underneath Chicago in search of the Rispolis’ “ultimate power.” Plotting is rough; both the series’ key double cross and a laboriously laid red herring are revealed so late in the game and after so much mayhem that they feel anticlimactic. Formerly fat Doug’s emergence into his own as Sara Jane’s partner is both refreshing and troubling: Why is it only after he loses tons of weight that he can be taken seriously?
In the end, the narrative contrivances overpower whatever genuine moral growth Sara Jane might undergo. But there is lots of blood. (Paranormal thriller. 12-18)