Comparisons with Wingfield's Frostare not hard to make in this latest offering from Stuart Pawson and an otherwise well constructed novel suffers in part from that similarity. Charlie Priest is, like Frost, a renegade cop, single , with an eye for the fairer sex and something of a loner when it comes to investigation. Rise above the comparison however and one glimpses a less well-known author of crime who deserves wider recognition. "Chill Factor" is likely to inspire reading of his earlier novels and may well be the break for which the author has been waiting which will put him on a par with Jardine, Dexter and others on the genre.
The tale centres around the murder of a murderer to which a confession is readily given and which, at first sight, is highly believable. Although almost from page 1 the reader is encouraged to believe Charlie Priest's nonbelief in the confession, it is the manner by which Priest proves, against his colleagues, that he is right and they are wrong which carries the book along at a fair pace. There is plenty of forensic insight, past research and detailed characterisation to keep most readers on edge although a contract taken out on Charlie hatched from a prison cell perhaps stretches one's imagination too far.
Pawson shows an excellent grasp of the way in which the forces of law and order function and the cynical touch where some of them are concerned does not go unnoticed or unappreciated. In the main his attention to detail is excellent though one felt using an angle grinder to strip paintwork from a car bonnet might have destroyed the very evidence it was designed to reveal.
All in all, a jolly good read which bodes well for the future.