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Cooler Than Blood    by Robert Lane Amazon.com order for
Cooler Than Blood
by Robert Lane
Order:  USA  Can
Mason Alley, 2015 (2015)
Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Cooler Than Blood a Jake Travis novel continues the storyline started in Second Letter, the first in a new series by Robert Lane. It has shades of John D. McDonald and his protagonist Travis McGee a series I discovered around thirty years ago. I would venture to say Jake Travis is a philosophical Travis McGee. Just as easy going, yet both determined to right a wrong. And Jake takes things a bit further by analyzing everything.

Jake has a significant other, Kathleen. He's not above fantasizing about other women, but remains true to his word. He's tough and strong and not bad to look at. He has a good heart and cannot turn his back when he thinks someone needs help. He loves to wisecrack. Laid back, he can jump into action when necessary. Though he is aware that he is getting older, and playing the tough guy isn't as much fun as it used to be nor as easy.

Now to the story. Jenny Spencer has a terrifying experience on the beach with a man whom she kills. Justifiably so. But then she disappears. Jenny had joined her aunt in Florida to escape deplorable conditions at her home in Ohio. The local police put her disappearance down to just another runaway. Jake thinks the girl was snatched and sets out to prove his theory. He feels no eighteen-year old would voluntarily leave her shoes and cell phone behind.

Jake's partner Garrett Demarcus and Jake, while searching for Jenny, discover a 'shocking secret' about Kathleen that could put her in a whole barrel of danger. Jake is attracted by Jenny's aunt Susan, but stoically stifles his feelings. He's true to Kathleen.

Jake runs into and cons some pretty shady characters. Action spikes as Jake tries wheeling and dealing with known criminals. His main concern is keeping Kathleen safe, but he can't forget Jenny who needs to be found hopefully alive.

This is a real page-turning novel, full of surprises as well as a large quota of suspense - and questions that Jake can't answer. He tries hard enough with his goals of protecting Kathleen first and finding Jenny second. My mother always said that comparisons are odious. I agree. But comparing John D. McDonald and Robert Lane sorry, Mom I would say that Cooler Than Blood fits today's time like a glove. I just hope that Lane is as prolific as McDonald.

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