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Shed No Tears


Shed No Tears

When I read SWEET LITTLE LIES, Caz Frear’s debut novel and the opening installment in her Cat Kinsella series, I made a mental note that this was an author to watch. She reconfirmed my feelings with the second entry, STONE COLD HEART, and at that point I did not think it was premature to compare her to the great Tana French. With the release of SHED NO TEARS, another triumph in the series, Frear is clearly separating herself from the overcrowded pack of writers in the mystery genre and carving out her own unique path.

This latest novel poses both logistical and moral issues for Detective Constable Cat Kinsella and her partner, Luigi Parnell. The body of a young woman is found and revealed to be Holly Kemp, the alleged final victim of serial killer Christopher Masters, who has since been murdered by his cellmate.

"SHED NO TEARS leaves no time for crying, and the writing is taut and complex throughout. Readers better catch on quickly before new authors in the genre start being called 'the new Caz Frear.'"

As Cat and Parnell, on behalf of London's Metropolitan Police, reopen the last of Masters' killings, they begin turning up some discrepancies. What if Holly was murdered by someone else? Of course, with Masters off the table, discovering the truth will not be easy. Cat has always tried extra hard to make a name for herself; as the daughter of a nefarious Irish mobster, she has had to go farther in her role as DC to expunge that familial tie.

Cat's boss, DCI Kate Steele, puts her and Parnell directly in touch with her colleague from another squad, Tessa Dyer. Dyer and her team took down Masters in 2012 following Holly’s murder. Even though they had no body, they had solid witnesses who placed Holly at Masters' house precisely at the time she was last seen. Cat and Parnell follow the same line of questioning that includes speaking with Dyer and a member of her squad, Susie Grainger, who is not at all pleased about her investigation being reopened. In fact, several people from the Metropolitan Police tell Cat in no uncertain terms that there are plenty of current cases to work on without revisiting closed ones.

Nevertheless, Cat and Parnell question Jacob Pope, the inmate who killed Masters, but they realize that he only really wants to hear himself talk and is not very helpful. The one person who is the most forthcoming is the principal witness, Serena Bailey, who claims to have run into Holly outside of Masters' home and saw her being welcomed inside by him. Cat has a difficult time with Serena, who seems to recall every single detail exactly as she originally gave them over seven years earlier, while Cat cannot even remember what she had for breakfast the previous day. In fact, Serena is a little too good of a witness, which leads Cat and Parnell to slowly begin poking holes into her story.

Cat is not without her own personal difficulties. She is getting a guilt trip from her sister to visit their father, who is nursing a broken arm in the hospital. Her love life isn't any easier.  Her boyfriend of two years, Aiden, is the brother of one of her first murder victims, who had a possible connection to her father and his mob cronies. She never shared this with Aiden, which may explain why she insists on keeping him away from her family. Also, Aiden is fed up with London and has a job opportunity that would send him to New York; he has asked Cat to consider coming with him.

I cannot remember a police procedural where not a single person involved with the case from a witness/potential suspect standpoint is in the least bit trustworthy. SHED NO TEARS leaves no time for crying, and the writing is taut and complex throughout. Readers better catch on quickly before new authors in the genre start being called “the new Caz Frear.”

Reviewed by Ray Palen on December 4, 2020

Shed No Tears
by Caz Frear

  • Publication Date: November 30, 2021
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 0062979868
  • ISBN-13: 9780062979865