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The Cold Kiss

3.72  ·  Rating Details  ·  793 Ratings  ·  150 Reviews

All Nate and Sara want is a new life in a new town, away from the crime and poverty of their past. So, after being approached at a roadside diner by a man offering $500 for a ride to Omaha, they wonder if their luck might be changing.

At first it seems like easy money, but within a few hours the man is dead.

Now, forced off the road by a blizzard and trapped in a run-d

Hardcover, 285 pages
Published July 6th 2010 by Forge Books (first published 2010)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,485)
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Richard Vialet
Yep. This guy John Rector is the real deal. I very recently enjoyed his novella, Lost Things: A Novella , and now I LOVED his second novel, The Cold Kiss. He writes the kind of thrillers that I enjoy the most: dark suspense stories featuring ordinary people caught in extraordinary situations, making decisions that cause a tragic snowball effect as they struggle to get out of what they realize is actually a lose-lose situation. Wait a could say that is the definition of noir, my fav ...more
James Thane
Dec 30, 2010 James Thane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nate and his pregnant girlfriend Sara are driving from Minnesota to Reno, seeking a new life for themselves and their baby. On a snowy night in Nebraska, they see a man in a cafe who is obviously very sick. Sara takes pity on the man and when the stranger offers them $500 for a ride into Omaha, the kids accept.

The three drive off into a major winter storm and are forced to seek refuge in a run-down motel out in the middle of nowhere. On getting out of the car, Nate and Sara discover to their hor
Oct 04, 2010 Kemper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery, noir
Noir in Nebraska?? Yes, and it’s pretty damn good noir, too.

Nate and Sara have loaded up their car and are headed to Reno from Minnesota to start a life together. At a diner in rural Nebraska, they meet a man named Syl with a wicked cough who pays them $500 for a ride to Omaha. A severe blizzard forces them to take shelter in a rundown hotel well off the interstate, but as they check in, they discover that Syl is dead of a gunshot wound and had $2 million in a suitcase.

Good girl Sara initially t
When a novel begins with a corpse faced guy coughing up blood at a roadside diner in need of a lift.....with a massive snowstorm know there's trouble on the way.....

This mystery-crime-thriller is one crazy fast-moving noir-ride with a multitude of psycho characters and a befitting ending. Entertaining read!

Jun 02, 2015 Melissa rated it liked it
If I have learned anything from watching movies, it's that if you Find Money in circumstances that involve dead people, you must absolutely not talk yourself into keeping it to build a better life. Turn it over to the cops, leave it in the downed plane with that dead guy, bury it in the woods, but for god's sake don't take it with you because someone is always going to follow you & try to kill you messily in order to get it back. Happily, though, none of the characters in books like these kn ...more
Apr 03, 2015 Susan rated it really liked it
Never Ever Give Rides To Strangers

This was a fast and entertaining read. I read it in one sitting.
Steve Lowe
Jul 16, 2010 Steve Lowe rated it it was amazing
I don’t read tons of crime fiction, so I won’t compare THE COLD KISS to a slew of other books out there, but I’m guessing the storyline is fairly familiar to regular fans of the genre. A person – or a couple in this case – without much money or future prospects suddenly find themselves in possession of a suitcase full of cash. As is usually the case, it’s blood money and someone is looking for it. In this type of story, there’s the setup, the moment of truth (when they decide to keep the money), ...more
Apr 01, 2015 Steven rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels, crime-noir
Kick-ass noir thriller! You know those horror movies where you want to scream "Don't give him a ride!" "Don't leave her alone!" "Don't leave the gun on the nightstand!" ? That's what you'll be doing as you read The Cold Kiss. Nate and Sara start making mistakes right at the beginning of the book when they accept $500 to give a guy who is coughing up blood a ride. They head off into a snow storm that soon becomes impassable, end up stuck at a motel where the power is out, and the guy they've give ...more
Mar 26, 2015 Eric_W rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Audiobook. A good thriller must have several things going for it to keep me entertained: I must care about one or more of the characters; I have to want to find out what happens in the end; and it has to be reasonably well written. If the characters are relatively normal people, i.e., don’t have the superhuman powers so common in some thrillers today, that's a plus. My crap-detector swings into overdrive when our hero manages to take on twelve bad guys with one six-shooter and gets all of them. ...more
Jim Thomsen
Jan 21, 2011 Jim Thomsen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The Cold Kiss" is a lean, tightly wound, claustrophobic, competent thriller. It's only got one drawback, but it's a big one: It's so derivative of "A Simple Plan" that Scott Smith could probably sue author John Rector if so inclined and probably win a whopping settlement (say, a bag filled with $2 million in cash). Also, with a cast of seven people stranded together, Rector might also have to pay off the creators of "Gilligan's Island" as well.

That said, if you're not fatally distracted by pla
Aug 12, 2010 AudioBookFans rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My review: I absolutely loved this audiobook. From the beginning, author John Rector plots a suspenseful story about Nate and Sara who have fled Minnesota for a new life. Pregnant Sara is young and innocent while Nate has lived a rougher life, but together they vow to make it to Reno to wed and welcome their child.

The plot thickens when the couple agrees to take a man, Syl, along for the ride. Syl, a rough man, has an awful cough and after questioning the couple, drifts to sleep. Sara worries ab
Dierdra Byrd
Ok I want to scream right now!! That ending really!? A part of me loves it and a part of me wants to just throw the book! Ok sorry.. I have a review to write.
The first and only book I ever read by John Rector was The Grove. One of the first books I ever got on my kindle and I really loved it. Not sure why I never picked up more of his books because wow is his work really amazing!
The Cold Kiss was a page turner from the very first page and I have been picking it up every chance I got even if I on
Brett Starr
Aug 09, 2010 Brett Starr rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Money is the root of all evil...

"The Cold Kiss" is one of those very rare finds, a great novel that jumps off the shelf at you when your at the store to buy something else, the kind of novel that "finds" you. For me it's always nice to find out how great a new author is on my own, starting with their debut!

Many reviewers and authors will often say that great characters make or break a novel, bad characters with a strong story usually ends in a mild read, whereas great characters can often keep
Aug 21, 2013 Stephen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this one and found it very hard to put down so it only took a couple of days to read. Tremendous at creating a scary atmosphere of dread and impending doom for the lead characters. Almost 5 stars but while I enjoyed the ending, I would have preferred the story to finish at the creepy motel where it was set and found the Part III tagged on the end slightly unsatisfactory. Will definitely search out other books by this author though and the proposed movie of the book should definite ...more
Jan 17, 2015 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people with nowhere to go but up
Shelves: 2015
On the jacket of this book where authors give their two cents, one of them mentions a comparison to A Simple Plan... and they're on the money with that comment. It's a Nebraska noir and magically delicious.

Nate and Sara are on their way to Reno, running to Reno actually. They're down on their luck financially but are all about having each other. It all starts in a diner on the road with a guy with a bad cough. Next thing you know, they're giving him a ride and this is the start of a series of ba
May 20, 2015 Gina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book had good "edge of your seat" intensity. It was a fast, easy read, and I spent the entire time wondering what would happen next, and how it would all turn out. Talk about a disastrous, domino effect, chain reaction of events, this book has it! Fast-paced and action packed, it definitely kept me turning the pages.
I enjoyed the writing style, it was tight and to the point, and the author creates a nice atmosphere of suspense. There are some graphic, gory parts, but not too overdone.

My i
Benoit Lelievre
Dec 14, 2011 Benoit Lelievre rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
John Rector is a worthy student of the Stephen King school of suspense and THE COLD KISS is the best example of his work. You will recognize the style that made THE GROVE very good, but everything is heightened. There's more characters, a more difficult moral dilemma and a plot that is more complex and detailed and that is without mentioning the great dynamic in between the protagonists Nate and Sarah. Great thriller.
Aug 11, 2010 Jmrathbone rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
THE COLD KISS was told in the first person and almost entirely in dialogue. The character development was weak and I found I didn't care what happened to anyone in the novel. The twist was obvious early on. I was disappointed, in as much as the novel was described on the book jacket by other authors as being like NO COUNTRY FOD OLD MEN, or A SIMPLE PLAN. THE COLD KISS doesn't begin to compare to these two novels
Oct 25, 2012 Debra rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-thriller
Great roller-coaster-ride of a debut novel. Very suspenseful and relentless. Loved the ending.
Sep 29, 2010 Miles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews
Damn you Rector, damn you! I should have known I was in for a treat when I began reading John Rector’s “The Cold Kiss”. The jacket cover is enticing and mesmerising – much like the book itself – I couldn’t put it down!

“The Cold Kiss” is the début book from Rector and if there was a better way to introduce oneself to the publishing world I honestly can’t think of one, it had me gripped from the very moment we are introduced to Nate and Sara and the mysterious stranger.

We have a young couple on th
Jan 01, 2012 Robert rated it it was amazing
Shelves: suspense
Happy new year to me, I get to start the new year with a five star book. Imagine standing in front of a fan when someone throws a load of crap into the fan. Now you are still standing there when another person throws another load of crap into that fan, and another and another. That is kind of the situation in this book. Or have you ever been travelling along a deserted two lane highway with your girlfriend, or fiance, picked up a weird stranger at a diner, got stuck in a Bate's type of hotel in ...more
Gloria Bernal
Apr 16, 2014 Gloria Bernal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fast, easy read that draws you in. I'd read Out of the Black, and thought I'd check out Rector's debut novel. It did not disappoint... that is, until the end, at the roulette table. If you read it, please let me know what you thought about that. All I could think was "damm, now we'll never know."
Jul 07, 2010 Erik rated it it was amazing
Reminiscent of Scott Phillips or Scott Smith, John Rector's THE COLD KISS is everything a well-told work of noir should be. Engaging and thrilling while keeping the reader glued to the page, guessing what might happen next. THE COLD KISS excels at all this with a crisp, refreshing minimalist style and a complete lack of heavy-handedness from the author.

Put simply, this dark tale of escape, fortune (and misfortune), and fate is pure storytelling at its finest. Without reservation, THE COLD KISS i
May 31, 2012 Raven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found the setting wonderfully claustrophobic and I loved the way little twists were eked into the plot throughout the book. I thought the characterisation was great as Rector has assembled a good mix of the psychopathic, the natural victims and I liked the way that no-one was essentially good being prey to very essentially human foibles e.g greed. The dialogue was crisp and sharp and reminded me in style of Denis Johnson's 'Nobody Move' and Castle Freeman's 'Go With Me' but retaining the filmi ...more
I was a tad disappointed with this book. I loved how it began with descriptions of how the man at the counter coughed. Some pretty decent visuals. Ugh. The build up was pretty decent but it began to implode when "everyone" jumped into the scheme. His descriptions of the cold landscape and of some rather brutal killings were......unique and quite visual. The ending was a bit of a cop out, though. Why go to all the trouble of describing the characters (except for the girl-didn't get why she was so ...more
Michael Martz
Aug 24, 2015 Michael Martz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every once in awhile I'll come across a novel that seems like it may have been easy to write. It's usually short, written very plainly, with a tricky plot and not a lot of deep knowledge needed in any particular subject. 'The Cold Kiss' is like that. Don't get me wrong, it's a nice, tight affair that was engaging enough for me to finish in a day, but the prose is very straightforward, there's no real character development to speak of, the dialogue is fairly boring, but the plot is strong with ve ...more
Alex Emery
May 28, 2015 Alex Emery rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: declared
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 05, 2015 Julia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nate and Sara are driving through snowy America, hoping to make a fresh start in Nevada. Along the way, they are persuaded to pick up a hitchhiker called Syl who offers them $500 to take him to Omaha. As a blizzard sets in, they are forced to stop at a motel in the middle of nowhere and things abruptly take a turn for the worse. Their hitchhiker is no longer breathing and his backpack contains a sizeable amount of money - enough to give Nate and Sara the fresh start that they badly need. However ...more
Jennifer Evans Kochalka
This was my first experience with John Rector and man, can this author keep you on edge! I downloaded this book to my Kindle on a day that I was home sick and read the entire book in one day. I even took it with me to the doctor’s office and was disappointed when the nurse called me in from the waiting room. I didn’t want to stop reading!

I loved the creepy setting for the book, a motel which reminded me of the Bates Motel. The author knows how to build suspense and throw plenty of unexpected sur
Kurt Reichenbaugh
Dec 16, 2010 Kurt Reichenbaugh rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: noir
Fast, tight novel about what happens to a young couple who go against their gut feelings about a stranger on the road, make bad choices and bring a fresh Hell down on themselves for it. I would have given it four stars except that it almost reads like a screenplay as much as it does a novel. That doesn't make it less an enjoyable and gripping ride but I think there was an opportunity missed at times to dig deeper into the characters and settings. Still, I'd easily recommend it to fans of Noir.
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John Rector is the bestselling author of The Grove, The Cold Kiss, Already Gone, and Out of the Black. His short fiction has appeared in numerous magazines and has won several awards, including the International Thriller Award for his novella, Lost Things.

He lives in Omaha, Nebraska.
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