Thursday, April 28, 2011




I can’t say I’ve ever been a fan of the serial killer genre. I think my general objection has to do with the usual total lack of motivation for the killer beyond perverted madness and over the top violence for shock value alone. Once in a while, however, I still get pruriently sucked in to a serial killer novel, and never more so than with David Lindsey’s 1983 novel A Cold Mind.

This was Lindsey’s second novel – his first, a paperback original, sank without a trace until his later success resurrected the title – and the debut for the character of Houston homicide detective Stuart Hayden.

Lindsey’s career has included a number of bestselling stand-alone thrillers, but his five novels featuring Hayden display the depth and breadth of the murder novel as literature. Lindsey’s prose is dense, yet gripping – his vocabulary and word usage startling stylistically, yet clear and accessible. Lindsey is impressively erudite, yet he never condescends, instead he treats the reader as an insider peer.


Two women die . . . one in a bizarre seizure-induced confrontation with a patrol officer near the grimy wharves of the Houston ship channel; the other is found floating in the bayou running through one of the city's wealthiest neighborhoods. There is no evidence of foul play. Both women are prostitutes – but they are from opposite ends of the city's social scale.

Despite the suspicious similarities in the two cases, Houston homicide detective Stuart Haydon can't even be sure he's looking at murder. But when still another woman dies mysteriously, he begins a manhunt that sucks him into the seedy sexual underbelly of Houston and into a world of international high rollers and sexual slavery.

With the help of Judith Croft, a beautiful call girl – with her own secrets – Haydon sets an ingenious, yet fragile, trap for outwitting a killer whose life is as unimaginable as the death he administers.

A Cold Mind is truly terrifying in a world of overblown superlatives. Unlike the current spate of overwrought serial killer novels, Lindsey provides plenty of motive and fascinating insight – like your favorite professor explaining it all and getting you excited about his area of expertise. A Cold Mind is not an easy read, but it is compelling and heart hammering.


Richard R. said...

Sounds like just the thing for the wife, who loves these dark twisted serial killer novels. Is the first one the best place to start, or this one?

BISH said...

Richard: While this is Lindsey's second novel, it is the first book in this series, so the perfect place to start.