This review does not contain spoilers.
Beginning in a small Midwestern clinic for comatose patients, the story moves to California, where a mysterious outbreak of serial killings (in which some victims have simply dropped dead for no obvious reason while others have been literally ripped to pieces) is perplexing the police. The horrific key to this gruesome mystery lies in a remote Himalayan hiding place. Soon the soul of the world will have cause to shudder in a cold sweat of total terror …
I remember reading and enjoying a lot of Christopher Pike’s books when I was younger. The YA section at the back of my local library was filled with his works. Unfortunately The Cold One is not my cup of tea. I don’t think it’s because I’m more familiar with his YA novels than the adult ones; I have no trouble imagining this story with younger characters and I still don’t think I’d like it.
For me, the issue is with the pacing. Pike has a knack for bringing a character to life with one descriptive paragraph. However, with many characters flitting in and out of the pages, and with their introductions jumping between past and present so frequently, getting a snapshot of their entire life seems unnecessary.
I remember Pike’s love of Hinduism from The Last Vampire books but I feel like he’s struggling to make it work in this novel. Maybe all the stories he mentioned are based in legend. Maybe they’re not. Either way, I’m not sure that a full chapter of exposition on chakras (while interesting) was vital to the conveyance of the story.
Readers are flung around the globe to drown in this exposition and follow characters who ultimately bring nothing to the story. With very minor tweaking, neither Rak nor Govinda need exist. Or, with very minor tweaking, they could prove far more integral to the plot. Instead they hover in limbo, existing as carbon copies of other more fully realised characters.
On a more finicky note, every chapter from the Cold One’s perspective bugs me with the capitalised personal pronoun. Rather than asserting the importance of the creature, it makes the chapters feel clunky to read.
Overall, the plot was slow going and the gaps between interesting parts seemed to stretch on too long. Several characters and situations could have been removed entirely to allow for better flow without adversely affecting the story. According to the internet, there was a planned sequel to this but I can’t say I’m sorry that it was never published as The Cold One doesn’t inspire me to read any further. Hopefully my youthful memory of affection for Christopher Pike is not totally incorrect as I still have a few unread books of his in my shelves.