I'm Kim Alexander and this is Fiction Nation. The book is The Cold Room by J.T. Ellison.
It's a great pleasure for me on a personal level when authors I like have continued success and I get to help document it. I first talked to J.T. in 2008 with her debut thriller, All the Pretty Girls, which introduced us to our heroine Detective Taylor Jackson, the city of Nashville, and the special brand of crazy upon which J.T. draws to create her villains.
Since then, (the very normal and quite delightful) J.T. and I have talked a few more times, and with each conversation she becomes more assured, she gives Taylor more trouble, and her bad guys get exponentially more depraved. It's been fun to watch!
In The Cold Room, J.T. has outdone herself in terms of sheer out-there horrific behavior. Her villain is a necro-sadist, which she explains is different from your garden variety necrophiliac in that the latter doesn't require his (I'm going with 'his') victim to be dead; only really, really quiet. (I knew Elmer Fudd wasn't quite right.) The passages set in his lair are disturbing and fairly graphic — how could they not be? And why do the same kind of crimes start turning up in Europe? Taylor has to track this guy down, and because of the trans-Atlantic element, a super-hot yet troubled and mysterious man with a past AND a hot English accent is suddenly teaming up with her and her longtime squeeze, FBI agent Baldwin, and English dude has decided Taylor is The One, Full Stop. Will she relent to his English hotness? Will she be sensible and stick with Baldwin the hometown favorite? Most importantly, will she find the bad guy before he chills again?
J.T. complained that the research was gross and the topic gave her nightmares but the story wanted to be told, and if you've got the stomach for it, her hard work pays off with morbidly elegant plot twists. She's got more coming up for Taylor, and I shudder (in a good way) to think what she's going to do for an encore to The Cold Room.
Hear my interview with J.T. Ellison on Fiction Nation, on Book Radio, Sirius 117 and XM 163.