A promise made to a dying man leads forensics ace Enzo Macleod (a Scot who's been teaching in France for many years) to the study—a place the man's heir has preserved for nearly 20 years. The dead man left several clues there designed to reveal his killer's identity to the man's son, but ironically the son died soon after the father.
So begins the fourth of the seven cold cases written up in a best-selling book by Parisian journalist Roger Raffin that Enzo rashly boasted he could solve (he's been successful with the first three).
The case takes Enzo to a tiny island off the coast of Brittany in France, where he must confront the hostility of locals who have no desire to see the infamous murder back in the headlines. An attractive widow, a man charged but acquitted of the murder—but still the viable suspect, a crime scene frozen in time, a dangerous hell hole by the cliffs, and a collection of impenetrable messages make this one of Enzo's most difficult cases.
©2010 Peter May (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Some cases are better left swept under the rug…
“Excellent….With its intricate plot, compelling characters, and bombshell denouement, this unsettling Enzo Files installment is a must-read.” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)
“The author of the much acclaimed China Thrillers surpasses himself here in misdirection, placing clues in plain sight and leaving the reader anticipating the fifth entry in this outstanding series.” (Library Journal)
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
This was another reliable entry in the Enzo series. The mystery is interesting and well strung together. I found the handling of the clues creative and intriguing, allowing me to play along with Enzo’s problem solving process, and even though I had figured out who-dunnit, I didn't mind because the scavenger hunt to get there was worth the trip. Enzo remains an engaging and full-blooded character, in this outing working without the entourage of his daughters and their boyfriends, but that was ok. I enjoyed the atmospheric Breton island location and the people he met there. My only complaint is the subplot involving sometime love interest, Charlotte, who was uncharacteristically surly, leaving a relationship cliffhanger that left a bad taste in my mouth. I’m sure there will be a resolution of sorts in future volumes, but I just didn't like the way this one faded out, but not so much as to lose the recommendation.
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Unlike previous installments, Enzo is on his own to solve this next cold case from Raffin’s book. He goes to an isolated community that is not pleased with their notorious murder being rehashed. In fact, the inhabitants “know” who killed the victim. Unfortunately he was tried and acquitted long ago. The crime scene has not been disturbed for 20 years. The clues, left by the victim for his son (that died before he saw them), are yet to be decoded. Enzo must make sense of the clues, untangle changed identities, endure the uncooperative locals, and juggle a new female attraction with the reappearance of Charlotte. He does succeed in finding the true killer, but not before another local is murdered.
This was an enjoyable listen. It’s somewhat linear and predictable, but it did hold my interest until the end.
Simon Vance is always an excellent narrator.
It is in the top 15% of books that I have listened to.
It is not a cliff hanger but the plot moves and you do want to keep listening!
All of his performances that I have listened to are excellent. He is one of my favorite readers.
I would have if I could have.
I love the way Peter May combines mysteries with his love and knowledge of France. It is the next best thing to being there!
I really enjoy the characters in this series and all the books read well. But this one, Freeze Frame, is the most beautiful. The story captured my attention with some little clues in the beginning that fooled me into thinking I knew what was going to happen. Surprise! I was wrong. But best of all is May's ability to put me on that gorgeous island. I could visualize the ocean and villages and the houses. It makes me really want to visit there.
Simon Vance does he usual great job on the reading.
This book was a bit plodding compared to previous ones especially since a good chunk of the story is spent chasing an obvious red herring. Enzo's willingness to jump right into a trap w/ no preparation is also getting old. Then there is the sub plot w/ Charlotte - aggravating and perplexing with her sudden unexpected coldness/nastiness toward Enzo.
My time was not well spent reading this book, I am sorry to say.
Enzo is described as a forensics expert and he is called in to see if he can solve a 20 year-old murder where clues were left by the victim in his study. It did seem to me that Enzo, the forensics expert, would have concentrated on the evidence in the room to see if he could unlock its secrets. Instead, he spent a very little time with the evidence and then went wandering around the place talking to people who were around at the time and not getting very far. It was all very unfocussed and unsatisfactory. I suppose if he had looked at the evidence and dug around for the story behind it immediately it would have made for a very short book as it took very little thinking to solve the case when he eventually put his mind to it.
Unfortunately, the first two thirds of the book consist largely of Enzo's love life. It's fine to have character development in a series of novels featuring one main protagonist but it seemed to me that the solving of the mystery came off second best in this novel.
I cannot imagine trying another in this series. However, I have also listened to Peter May's Blackhouse. I thought that was excellent and that was one of the reasons I chose Freeze Frame but it is not to my taste at all.
Simon Vance has a lovely speaking voice and provides convincing accents and voices for both male and female characters. His delivery when speaking as the narrator rather than as a character is a bit mannered but not enough to spoil it.
It was just about worth three stars but overall I was disappointed. On the other hand, I now know that the Enzo books are not for me.
It may be a small point but I found myself distracted by some of the words which sounded American and I was left wondering whether the book had a US editor. It became intrusive so I wrote some of them down so that I could try to ignore them when they came up again. I noted Fall (not Autumn), toward (not towards), drapes (not curtains), even although (even though), car hood (not bonnet), sidewalk (not pavement) and there may be more.
Perhaps these words are commonly used in Scotland if not in England but it was disconcerting.
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