A Bantam Hardcover
Pub Date: May 2003
An ALA Top Ten Crime Novel of the Year
Chadwick’s life was balanced on the edge of a knife — his career, his marriage, his relationship with his dangerously troubled daughter. And then one autumn night, the worst possible thing happened . . .
Nearly a decade later, Chadwick’s heart is on the mend. Working for an old military buddy, he now saves kids for a living — escorting troubled teens to a Texas wilderness school that specializes in the toughest brand of love.
Until he gets a call that threatens to shatter his new life.
Mallory Zedman, the daughter of his oldest friend, is taking the same terrible path Chadwick’s own daughter once took. Defiant and out-of-control, Mallory is determined to destroy herself and anyone who tries to stop her. No sooner does Chadwick snatch her off the streets than he discovers she is wanted for questioning in a brutal murder – a slaying that seems directly linked to Chadwick’s past. To save Mallory, tough love will not be enough. Chadwick must find the truth behind the murder – and in doing so, revisit the infidelities, broken promises, and violent passions that cracked his world apart.
From the wealthy enclave of San Francisco’s Pacific Heights to the gang-ruled streets of West Oakland to the stark open spaces of Cold Springs, Texas, Chadwick must race to save not only Mallory, but the one thing he still has left to lose – a slim hope of redemption.
“Riordan has walked away with just about every prestigious mystery-writing award there is. As soon as you start reading Riordan, you understand the acclaim. His voice is fresh yet sure, with insights so trenchant they nearly provoke tears. And Riordan’s characters, even the minor ones, are achingly believable. And the action proceeds realistically from the strengths and flaws of the characters, with some sucker punches from fate thrown in. Gut-wrenching.”
– Booklist, starred review
“Released from the creative constraints of his award-winning Tres Navarre series, Rick Riordan stretches out and hits all the right notes in this stand-alone thriller — his first. Riordan hammers out a heart-rending tale of families torn apart by drugs and violence and the lengths they will go to in the name of love. Pulse-pounding suspense that’s chockfull of surprises, Cold Springs will blast Riordan’s reputation as a cult fave into the stratosphere.”
– Texas Monthly
“Chadwick is a complex and interesting character, and the pressures on him are believable and absorbing. Knife-throwing, wild shooting and hairbreadth escapes up the ante, but Riordan is so good at moving his story along—and showing how fragile children’s lives can be—that most readers will forgive him his excesses.”
– Publisher’s Weekly
“Strong characters, tense situations, and vivid action sequences make this book hard to put down. Riordan’s description of the school’s rehabilitation program will prove fascinating to anyone who has had to deal with a rebellious teen. An essential purchase for all public libraries.”
– Library Journal
“Cold Springs shows Riordan has the chops for more stylish prose in the headlong rush of a multilevel, rapidly twisting plot. His voice is smooth, accented with a south Texas drawl and punctuated by evocative imagery. Riordan is a rising star in crime fiction and, with luck, will help the genre usher back strong plots with complex characters.”
– The Denver Post
“Reads like a fast train, roaring on and taking enthralled readers for a great ride. Riordan has already earned plenty of respect as a mystery writer with his Tres Navarre books, but it’s a delight to see what he can do when he breaks away with a stand-alone.”
– San Jose Mercury News
“A read-till-the-sun-comes-up type of book. His chase scenes and action sequences are genuine nail-biters. COLD SPRINGS should satisfy any longtime fans longing for a new Navarre mystery and should also win Riordan plenty of new fans counting the days ’til his next.”
– San Antonio Express News
“By showing the consequences of rampant deception, Riordan blurs the distinction between the street-level toughs and the upscale educators and their spouses. And by sending Chadwick racing back to Oakland to look into Montrose’s murder, he creates a scenario in which his flawed protagonist has an opportunity to redeem himself, though not before confronting truth and death. But it’s Mallory’s struggle for survival that captures us, providing the fierce finale that tests her mettle. We’re rooting for her because Riordan never lets us forget the terrified and innocent child she once was.”
– The Boston Globe
“As he does so often and so well, Riordan builds this story around a cast of painfully believable people. The reader is left to consider the realities of children at risk and the frightening options parents face in trying to intervene.”
– The Houston Chronicle
“Riordan evokes the landscapes around Cold Springs with vividness and authority, and also brings that sensibility to the book’s Bay Area scenes. But it’s the book’s complex plot and richly realized people — most notably its troubled teenagers — that give Cold Springs substance and heft. The long climax offers a stunning series of cascading revelations, including a final kicker that changes everything. Riordan is the real deal.”
“Riordan’s sensitive acuity into the emotions and passions of the women in this story, as well his talent in unfolding the increasingly painful details of Chadwick’s life, is to be applauded. This story will grab you and wrench your heart as you can’t help but think of all the lost teenagers in our society who suffer the same agony as they search for the answers of why. I’ll be looking for Riordan’s next book, you can be sure.”
– Old Book Barn Gazette