The Cold Between (Central Corps #1)
Published: March 8, 2016 (Harper Voyager)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review
Reviewed by: Amanda
Rating (out of 5 stars): 4 stars
Decades ago, the Central Corps ship Phoenix exploded near an innocuous wormhole, killing everyone on board. Fast-forward to the present, and Elena, a Central Corps engineer, is shocked to learn her crewmate Danny has been murdered. Even more shocking—the prime suspect is her lover, Treiko.
The two seemingly unrelated incidents become twisted and knotted together as Elena and Trey scramble to clear his name. Elena knows Trey is innocent, because they were together at the time of the murder. But the more they uncover about what Danny was digging into, the more danger they find themselves in. Central Gov isn’t telling the whole truth about what happened to the Phoenix, and like they’ll do whatever is necessary to keep those facts hidden. With time running out to find the real killer, Elena and Trey will have to team up with uncertain allies, because if they don’t, the fallout will be violent.
Calling The Cold Between sci-fi doesn’t seem like it captures the whole of the book. Set amongst the stars, there’s no doubt it’s got science fiction cred. But it’s got all the suspense of a police procedural, a bittersweet love story (yes, love story, not a romance) and big and small pieces that turn it into more. Elena’s immensely likeable. She’s smart and resourceful, but these are facts, not something to make a big deal out of. While I liked Trey, I found myself liking Greg, Elena’s captain, more; he had layers Trey was missing, and the secrets he’s hiding from his crew in general and Elena specifically intrigued me and had me turning pages. How the relationship between Greg and Elena shakes out by the end of the book is one reason I’ll be coming back for more.
The way Elizabeth Bonesteel balances the mystery with the character arcs is another. She gives each part the attention it needs, and the end result is the sweetness of Elena and Trey’s interactions felt realistic, just as the antagonism and tension coloring Elena’s relationship with Greg was aggravating (in a good way!). I wanted to shake them both and force them to talk it out. Bonesteel parses out bits of the Phoenix explosion as Elena and Trey retrace Danny’s last steps, weaving the two mysteries together.
The biggest issue with The Cold Between is for all the fantastic and subtle detail Bonesteel puts into the worldbuilding, she fails to do the same when it comes to the PSI. More than once I found myself annoyed and pulled out of the story because I could not figure out what the PSI were. Are they another race of humans? What is it about them that makes the Corps wary? And just how much older than Elena was Trey?
I hope she clears some of this up in the next book, because the world of the PSI and the Central Corps is definitely one worth visiting.
Sexual content: sex