Vampires are done. Boring. Humdrum. Old news. So old, in fact, that in the world of Detective Morgan Everson a distinct department of the police force has been tasked with keeping their nighttime activities under control and their existence secret from the larger public: her Special Homicide force. But even for someone used to dealing with bloodsucking fiends, it's slightly out of the ordinary to hear that a casket on Mount Grace appears to have exploded from the inside. Stranger still, the occupant, murdered 35 years ago, is sitting just across the interrogation table. How did Seth Fasil end up six feet under? Why didn't he stay there? And who is trying to put him back under?
Unsurprisingly given their palpable presence, vampires play a considerable part in current events, but their exact goal is a little less clear. Ridiculously enough, vampire stories tend to play the existence of the eponymous living dead as a major twist. Fortunately, Cold Iron is a detective story more so than a vampire story, following not one but three interesting leads. While Seth is busy looking into his own murder, we get to see Morgan investigate the latest unusual killings. Meanwhile, it's also the future. Kind of. The novella seems more eager to dabble in the supernatural than the scientific.
The trichotomy of Seth's death, the means and meaning of his resurrection and Morgan's dealings with nocturnal creatures offers just enough secrets and twists No single thread would have been able to carry the plot, but the combination of all three has created a nimble tale of murder-mystery. Something short, light and focused: A novella. The flipside of this tight structure is relative simplicity. Cold Iron is not exactly the most brainy pursuit, built on action, less than grand twists and dialogue verbalizing subtext. Those looking for a hearty read might be left wanting more (and more there will be), but those looking to be entertained could hardly make a better choice.
This is the kind of fiction best suited for a beach or plane, light and entertaining, not taxingly clever but still noticeably so. Captivating, smart, easy reading. Cold Iron is a great way to spend an afternoon and a promising glance at things to come.