It looks like a burglary gone wrong. An elderly man, living alone in a retirement community of detached houses, is found dead with a head wound. Police theorize he struggled with a burglar and fell, hitting his head. Valuable books and china have been stolen. Detective Inspector Ian Drake of the North Wales Police Force and his team investigation, patiently tracking down leads, including one from a rare book dealer.
But it looks like a burglary until two more reports come in, both of elderly men who died in their homes. Both apparently suffered heart attacks. But the coroner is suspicious, and tests to see if his hunch is correct. The two didn’t die of heart attacks; they were injected with enough air to cause heart attacks. A few exhumations are ordered. And now it begins to look like there’s a serial killer loose, targeting the elderly.
A Cold Dark Heart by Stephen Puleston is the eighth Detective Inspection Ian Drake novel, and it gradually builds toward an on-the-edge-of-your seat conclusion. And Puleston plays Drake not only against a cunning killer but also his own boss, a new superintendent who’s looking for glory and is more obstructive than helpful. Drake still has the habits of his obsessive-compulsive disorder – rearranging post-it notes on his desk, moving picture frames an eighth of an inch, checking the cleanliness of his own car and those of his fellow officers. But it’s much more under control than in the earlier novels.
Puleston publishes two series of Welsh police detective stories. Detective Inspector Ian Drake is with the North Wales Police Service, and Detective Inspector John Marco is with the South Wales Police Service. The author originally trained and practiced as a; solicitor/lawyer. He also attended the University of London. He lives in Wales, very close to where his fictional hero lives and works.
A Cold Dark Heart is another solid entry in the Ian Drake series, with a nail-biting thriller of a conclusion.