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The Cold Kiss

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  976 Ratings  ·  174 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

Hardcover, 285 pages
Published July 6th 2010 by Forge Books (first published 2010)
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Paul Bryant

Readers of genre fiction have got one big advantage over readers of literary fiction. They know that in every one of their novels something happens. Whereas in literary fiction trying to find an actual event is like looking for Amelia Earhart. I refer to Thomas Bernhardt, Italo Calvino, Haruki Murakami – the usual suspects. There are plenty of others.
In Cold Kiss a broke young couple give a lift to a guy with a real bad chest infection – or has he?- only to ha
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 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 03, 2010 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 has died in the car of a gunshot wound and had $2 million in a suitcase.

Good girl Sara
Steve Lowe
Jul 06, 2010 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
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 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
Aug 11, 2011 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 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 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
Feb 24, 2015 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
Dierdra McGill
Sep 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
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
Oct 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-thriller
Great roller-coaster-ride of a debut novel. Very suspenseful and relentless. Loved the ending.
Brett Starr
Aug 09, 2010 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
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
Aug 20, 2013 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
Aug 11, 2010 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 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-noir
This was my first Rector read and I loved it! It was as if i sitting in the theater yelling at the screen, "Don't open that door!". The couple keeps making decisions that you know are going to lead the down the wrong path. The interesting part was they kept taking turns making these decisions, instead of one character making all the wrong choices. Loved it!
Strawberry Fields
Jan 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Creepy guy, lots of money and mystery, two lovebirds running away for love in a snowstorm, trapped at a hotel with strangers. Recipe for some interesting reading. Short easy read and very enjoyable. The ending? Well...can't spoil it for you, you'll have to read it for yourself! (worth it)
Jul 24, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fave-adult-2010
Two words: Riveting and disturbing (or disturbingly riveting).
Sep 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kept me turning pages.
Sep 25, 2010 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 11, 2015 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 12, 2015 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
Jul 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Nate and Sara try to be good citizens when they try to help out a stranger,Sly with a severe cough. Prior to meeting him,they were struggling to make a life together. Nate has a troubled past with the law,a reality that continues to haunt him. Sara his pregnant girlfriend tries to convince him to live in the Present.

Sly is stranded in a snow storm,Nate helps him out,but is apprehensive. Sara quickly gross attached to him,curious to know more about him. As Sly's cough worsens,Nate has bigger fish
Nov 09, 2010 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
May 07, 2010 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 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
This is one of those types of books that I love. The crap hits the fan early and often and the reader gets taken on a roller coaster ride all the way through. Written in a similar vein of works like Koontz' "Intensity", Smith's "Simple plan" and Crouch's "Desert Places". It's great when character's get put into situations that are unbelievable and totally screwed up and then they manage to totally make it worse. This is a really fun, quick, highly enjoyable read.
Kurt Reichenbaugh
Dec 16, 2010 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 novels The Ridge, The Cold Kiss, The Grove, Already Gone, Out of the Black, and Ruthless. 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.
More about John Rector...

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