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The Cold Kiss by John Rector

The Cold Kiss

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Maxim Jakubowski's view...

Strictly speaking a debut crime novel, this however qualifies as a horror story if only because of the sheer visceral intensity of the action and situations. Nate and Sara are broke and on the run when they come across a hitchhiker and begin a journey to damnation and beyond. This is a throat-grabbing, sweat-inducing stuff and the pace is absolutely relentless. If the fates of the downcast protagonists doesn't involve you, you have no heart. Horrific but believable.

Who is Maxim Jakubowski


The Cold Kiss by John Rector

Nate and Sara are broke -- and on the run from the past. When a shady hitchhiker offers them cold hard cash for a lift, they can't afford to say no. But very soon they'll be wishing they had. Because picking him up is about to become the biggest mistake they ever made -- and the price they'll have to pay will be greater than they could ever have imagined...


'A well-crafted, tightly plotted thriller which steadily cranks up the sense of menace page by page. You know something bad's going to happen, and you just have to keep reading to find out what. I really enjoyed it'
Simon Kernick

'Dark unalloyed menace from beginning to end. This is sheer noir. Rector is the best find I've made all year'
Tony Black

'Wonderfully compelling. Could almost see the film racing across my eyes'
Maxim Jakubowski

'Tense, taut, throat-grabbing. John Rector is far more accomplished than his years. Reads like a cross between NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN and DELIVERANCE. Terrific'
Eric Van Lustbader

'THE COLD KISS is a slice of tragicomic noir Americana, a spiraling tale of bad luck and viciousness leavened only by author John Rector's savage glee at the ever worsening state of his protagonists'
circumstances. One of the best debuts I

've read in a very long time'
Scott Phillips, author of THE ICE HARVEST

'Rector brings you into the head of Nate with a wink and a smile then locks the door behind you, imprisoning you in the anxiety-drenched hellscape of Nate's mind... You're definitely going to want to read this. The prose is clean, the characters relatable, and the dialogue is tight as a drum... But what will truly keep you captive is the suspension-bridge-cable tension...'

'Dean Koontz fans will find much to like in Rector's debut, a contemporary thriller about a couple on the lam. Nate and his pregnant fiancee, Sara, who each have reason for fleeing their pasts, end up in a situation straight out of Hitchcock on their drive from Minnesota to get married in Reno... Rector takes a classic noir setup and makes the most of it through clever plotting and spare prose'

's Weekly 'Portents of disaster accumulate like wind-driven snow... A sly and very accomplished first novel'

'Highly rewarding... I just couldn't stop reading... There's no better place to spend a few imaginative hours these days than Rector's snowbound motel'
National Review

'Highly suspenseful, highly provocative... has elements of the teen horror film I Know What You Did Last Summer and the classic, groundbreaking Psycho... highly recommended'
Gumshoe Review

'A chilling slice of doom concerning a young couple, a hitchhiker, a corpse, a huge wodge of cash and a snowed-in motel populated by very greedy and rather violent fellow travellers. Unusually, this noir-ish tale is not completely noir in that there is a glimpse of redemption for the protagonists at the end'
Shots E

-zine 'One of the most violent, frightening and gripping books I have ever read. The phrase I could not put it down fits here -- and the ending stopped me COLD. An outstanding read -- don't miss this one!
Beyond her Book, Publisher

's Weekly 'The reader becomes intensely emotionally engaged with the central characters, still understanding their motivations and hoping against the odds that they can get their happy ending. The odds keep stacking up against them but everything's possible. I read the final lines with bated breath, willing everything to turn out ok... The book oozes eeriness and creepiness, with its sinister motel, eccentric characters and the mounting tension and sense of no escape as the snowstorm closes in, which just heighten the emotional charge of the novel... I'll definitely keep an eye out for John Rector's future books because, if this debut novel is anything to go by, he is definitely one to watch'
Madhouse Family Reviews blog

'Absolutely mesmerising from start to finish, Cold Kiss is an impressive tour de force of mounting tension and heart-stopping suspense that is quite literally impossible to put down'
Irish Independent

'I read Cold Kiss in one sitting. Cover to cover... If you like being scared. If you enjoy twisty dark stories. If you like a tense well written psycholgical thriller with dubious characters, Cold Kiss is for you... There are very few books I've read where I have felt such despair for the characters. Few authors have that ability to really make me feel like I want to sit down and cry for the amount of trouble they dump their characters in... That pure anxiety just keeps you turning that page because you have to know how it pans out. And those twists just keep on coming... It blew me away - I mean, I like being scared but this thing, boyo, it freaked me out. Also, sometimes you find that the endings to thrillers are a bit of a let-down. Gmpfh - not in this case... I'd wholeheartedly recommend Cold Kiss to crime, horror and thriller readers. It goes that bit further, breaking through the boundaries of standard genre fiction, and delivers a whole fist full of icy cold goodness'
My Favourite Books blog

'A novel that compels you to read on - even though there are times you are too scared to. Brilliant.'
The Sun

About the Author

John Rector

John Rector's short fiction has appeared in numerous magazines and won several awards including the Porterhouse prize. His first novel, The Grove, was a bestselling e-book and will be soon be published for the first time in print form. He lives in Omaha, Nebraska and is currently working on his next novel. Read John Rector's blog at

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Book Info

Publication date

2nd September 2010


John Rector

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Pocket Books an imprint of Simon & Schuster Ltd


288 pages


eBook Favourites

Thriller / suspense



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