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Cold Skies


3.82  ·  Rating details ·  237 ratings  ·  49 reviews
Thumps DreadfulWater has finally found some peace and quiet. His past as a California cop now far behind him, he’s living out his retirement as a fine-arts photographer in the small town of Chinook. His health isn’t great, and he could use a new stove, but as long as he’s got his cat and a halfway decent plate of eggs, life is good.

All that changes when a body
ebook, 464 pages
Published May 22nd 2018 by HarperCollins Publishers
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Average rating 3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  237 ratings  ·  49 reviews

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What do you do when a Thumps DreadfulWater novel arrives for you at the public library? Why, you clear your schedule of course and proceed to devour it in one sitting.

Thomas King is such an excellent writer, managing to combine colourful characters with an interesting plot, numerous entertaining sub-plots and sly commentary on contemporary society. These mystery novels are a joy to read.

In this third installment, I found Thumps’ cat, Freeway, and his new neighbour’s dog,
Jane Mulkewich
Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Thomas King (from the days of the Dead Dog Cafe on CBC radio, to all of his books) and I love how much fun his writing is in this murder mystery. He is particularly good at the witty repartee between characters, as well as the inner thoughts of the characters (like what about that six-burner stove?). I could hear his voice in my head as I was reading and chuckled out loud as I imagined how much fun he was having writing this book. Yes the characters and plot became confusing at times, but ...more
Dilia Narduzzi
Apr 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
So good. Looking forward to book 4, though sad that I'm reading the series so fast!
Montanna Wildhack
Nov 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Gentle, sweet, Thomas King. Deceptively simple; deeply felt.
Aug 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed King’s detective novel. Fans of his CBC radio show Dead Dog Cafe will recognize his subtle sense of humour.
The book follows the formula of a retired homicide detective who gets drafted into solving a double murder in the imaginary town of Chinook, which is probably in Idaho. The town is full of characters- a Greek bookstore owner named Archie who is a social activist, the Middle Eastern pharmacist, the band Chief who is the on and off girlfriend of the main character.
Jane Robertson
Dec 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really live Thomas King's writing. This is the best one yet.
Cheriee Weichel
Jun 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Give me a good mystery and I'm satisfied. Throw in some of Thomas King's way with words and ironic sense of humour, and I'm almost over the moon.
DreadfulWater is a retired cop who now lives in the small town of Chinook, Montana where he tries his hand at art photography. His past is weighted down by the murders of his partner and her 10 year old daughter, an unsolved case that haunts him.
When bodies start piling up just the sheriff, who's just about to head off on vacation, does his best to co
Tina Siegel
Oct 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The deeper I get into this series, the more I appreciate it.

King’s prose is deceptively simple, so it’s easy to breeze through a DreadfulWater mystery like an Agatha Christie. But King touches on issues of sovereignty, environmental stewardship, and vengeance vs justice, which - slowly, over time - make the books feel weightier than they do at first.

I’ve also spent some time with these characters, now, and watched them - and the relationships between them - grow. Thumps a
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"Cold Skies" by Thomas King was a light-hearted cozy mystery. Thumps Dreadfulwater is the detective ...a reluctant detective who spends most of the novel humourously avoiding being named acting sheriff. All the while, Thumps is, almost off-handedly, putting an answer to why two people died in small town Montana. Is it even a murder? Double murder? Serial killer? By the time we get to the action of catching the bad guy, we've gotten to know something about the relatives, friends and acquaintances ...more
Jun 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Funny how libraries change when there's a new chief librarian in residence. I had never heard of this author before but maybe that's because the mystery books on display before seemed to focus more on Nordic and British crime fiction. While those remain my favourites, I enjoyed reading this one and hope to meet Mr. DreadfulWater again and see what else Order of Canada recipient (how did I not know this?) Thomas King has written.
Luce Cronin
Jul 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: anishnaabe
I always love King's books. The DreadfulWater series always brings a lot of laughs, a lot of intrigue. This did not disappoint. And from the sounds of the last paragraph in the book, this series will be a continuing one. Hurray!
Steven Langdon
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Russell Smith, the Globe and Mail arts columnist, complained in a Scrooge-like Christmas article that Canadian literature lacked wit. I have to assume Smith did not read this rollicking and humorous novel by Tom King -- another adventure featuring Cherokee ex-police detective Thumps DreadfulWater -- or he would never have reached such a conclusion.

The novel is a delightful mix of satire, jokes and word play -- all interwoven with an engaging mystery that Thumps is reluctantly drawn i
Alan Teder
Good Reboot of the Reluctant Laidback Detective
Review of the 2018 paperback edition from HarperCollins

I only discovered the Thumps DreadfulWater series of cozy mystery novels due to the reissue of both "DreadfulWater" (2003) and "The Red Power Murders" (2006) in 2017. Those were in anticipation of the release of the reboot "Cold Skies" in 2018 and the further "A Matter of Malice" (expected late January 2019).

Thomas King doesn't miss a beat in carrying on with the story of his supposedly retired police/>Review
Gwen Harris
Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Cold Skies: A DreadfulWater Mystery - delightful mystery where Thumps DreadfulWater, a photographer and ex-California cop, gets involved with solving murders in the town of Chinook, somewhat south of the Canada-US border, and east of Washington State, near and on aboriginal land. It's funny, well written, droll, has wonderful characters (Deanna Heavy Runner, Cisco Cruz), and an interesting plot in which King ties in environmental issues.

Thomas King has a lively wit and talent for the zinger wit
Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I didn't really realize that this was part of a series when I picked it up from the library. It was on a prominent display and I thought, hey, Thomas King, that could be good! But I was disappointed, in the end. I enjoyed the first half of this book, but like another reviewer mentioned, it was a very slow mystery. I lost my will to read about halfway through, finding it hard to keep the characters straight, especially the persons of interest. By the time I finished I still didn't quite understand whi ...more
Jul 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
About Thumps Dreadfulwater, a Cherokee man and former police detective, who finds himself living as a photographer in a small town called Chinook abutting tribal land in the prairies, this book is the story of the investigation of a number of murders seemingly related to disputed tribal land and a technology that could lead to the entire tribal aquifer to be drained. This book was a perfect private dick story. The dialogue is impeccable, the story is as funny as it is engaging, the cast of chara ...more
Garth Mailman
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Third in the DreadfulWaters Series of Mysteries. The usual motley crew with the addition of a cast of characters in town for a convention on water. The sheriff is supposed to be out of town on a convention of his own leaving Thumps reluctant Acting Chief and Beth with two cold ones in her morgue. Thumps has a new neighbour with a large canine whose flatulence can sicken everyone downwind for a mile. Strangest of all is the fact that Thumps diffident feline, Freeway, has taken a shine to the mutt ...more
Linda Cook
May 26, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jenny Kim
Apr 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
I shouldn't have read this... I didn't realize that this was second in the series until I started reading it but that is not the reason why I say I shouldn't have read this. This book works fine as a stand alone but I felt like it was less in quality in depth, writing and mystery. (The fact that I recently read one of his most famous books which was excellent may had a hand in my expectation.) It was humorous and funny which I expected from the author and a plus but that is about it and they al ...more
Wendy Hearder-moan
Mar 20, 2019 rated it liked it
I hope this series will continue. The last chapter gives me hope that there will be sequel that picks up on the many allusions to Thumps’s life before Chinook. I enjoy King’s prose so much. Many one-liners that I just have to read out loud to someone, e.g. “The last thing he saw as he slipped out the door was three grown men staring at a computer screen, the electronic version of watching paint dry”.
Sherry Monger
Jul 18, 2018 rated it liked it
This book is a lightweight compared to An Inconvenient Indian but an enjoyable read nonetheless. Filled with cheeky humour, this murder mystery develops slowly and concerns the use and misuse of tribal lands. The characters are real and flawed - the issues of concern to First Nations peoples. You can't help but root for Thumps DreadfulWater who longs for peace and quiet but is forcefully recruited to be an acting sheriff when unexplained murders bombard his small community.
John M.
Jan 30, 2019 rated it liked it
This book was a little bit long. It was wide and thick as well. Probably more than it needed to be. The paperback is far more accessible. This one was from the library so it also had a plastic sleeve and some stickers. The author’s name is much larger than the title which apparently is supposed to help sell books. The cover is a nice contrast of blue and green but the whole thing seems to have a grey/grainy filter. The image is a photo of a prairie-esque landscape with a mountain in the backgrou ...more
Tricia Dower
Jul 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Book club selection, not something I would've chosen on my own. Felt like the author was writing it with a TV series in mind --the retired cop Thumps Awfulwater being pressed into action when a few dead bodies show up in his until-then quiet town. While I enjoyed the glimpse into native life and the idiosyncratic Thumps, the story was fairly conventional and the reveal at the end anticlimactic.
May 01, 2019 rated it liked it
After reading "The Inconvenient Indian", by Thomas King, I guess my expectation was set too high. "Cold Skies" is an easy read, somewhat humorous; but not overly compelling. Truth be told, the story line is underwhelming. As much as I love T. King's writing, I can give this book only a marginal 3 star rating.
Kathy Mcneil
Jul 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: have-read
I saw this book at my local library and saw that it was the latest book by Thomas King. I have loved his many of his other books so thought I would give it a try. Couldn't put it down. The dialogue and the characters are some of the best that I have ever read. The plot is interesting but it is the character development and the dialogue that kept me reading and reading and reading.
Aug 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
A good book. As always, Thomas King has supplied a thoughtful novel filled with his unique humor and interesting characters.

This book is part of a series but you do not need to read the first one before reading this one.
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
This may not be great literature, but it is a funny absorbing light read. It is a mystery involving indigenous nations ownership of resources, but it is also a murder mystery that keeps you guessing until the end!! Had me laughing. I really enjoyed reading it and will pass it around to my friends.
Sarah Boon
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
I found the central mystery wasn't overly compelling, and there were too many asides about small-town life, the main character's health and love life, etc. Most disappointingly, the murder-mystery scenario wasn't all that plausible to me.
Mary Anne
Dec 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A lovely addition to the DreadfulWater series. A book of some suspense, some surprises, but mostly it is about real people. The digs at American shortcomings for health coverage did not hurt my Canadian sensibilities.
Margaret1358 Joyce
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Reminiscent of Tony Hillerman's mysteries set on tribal land in the American southwest, this mystery
is both fascinating and fun. The plot is quite intricate, and the action is carried by the fast-paced, witty dialogue. A great read!
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Thomas King was born in 1943 in Sacramento, California and is of Cherokee, Greek and German descent. He obtained his PhD from the University of Utah in 1986. He is known for works in which he addresses the marginalization of American Indians, delineates "pan-Indian" concerns and histories, and attempts to abolish common stereotypes about Native Americans. He taught Native American Studies at the U ...more

Other books in the series

DreadfulWater (5 books)
  • DreadfulWater
  • The Red Power Murders
  • A Matter of Malice
  • The Obsidian Murders
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