COLD CASE SQUAD. By Edna Buchanan. Simon & Schuster. 304 pages. $22.95.
The Cold Case Squad should be a plum for a Miami cop - regular, daylight hours and the chance to spend more time with the family.
Only it hasn't quite worked out that way for Sgt. Craig Burch, who had a brief dalliance with a woman he met when he saved her daughter's life.
Burch's wife, Connie, has not only thrown him out of the house and polluted their children's minds against him, but she has taken to committing a series of vicious pranks, including taking out personal ads in his name in the "men seeking men" category.
Burch also has been assigned to a very cold case: the death of Charles Terrell in a gasoline fire while working on his car 12 years ago.
Terrell's first wife has complicated matters by claiming she's seen her ex-husband alive.
To complicate matters even more, Burch's partner, Sam Stone, is showing unusual interest in a possible connection between unsolved murders in different cities. Several elderly women have been killed in their beds over the past decade, and Stone loses credibility when he proposes that the method of murder shows characteristics of Orthodox Jewish ritual.
Edna Buchanan is a former Miami Herald reporter who can make the reader feel that city's pulse like a native. She can also bring out the dark humor in every evil event.
There are many threads in this complicated plot, and Buchanan ties them all together neatly - a little too neatly, in fact.
Buchanan writes with color and facility and gives a genuine feeling that you, the reader, have been an integral part of the action.
The Block News Alliance consists of The Blade and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Robert Croan is the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's senior editor.