Tuesday, May 1, 2012

HARD FROST by R.D. Wingfield




“We don’t want any of your shortcuts and corner-cutting, Frost--things that won’t stand up in court. The important thing is to secure a conviction.”

“No,” said Frost. “The important thing is to find the kid . . . and that’s what I intend to do.”

-----

R.D. Wingfield’s Jack Frost has a convoluted way of making things turn out right if things can turn out right at all.

In Hard Frost Detective Inspector Jack Frost investigates a series of terrible crimes. The crimes include a child’s murder, the kidnapping of two children, the murder of a sneak thief, and the mutilation of small children.

Most of Frost’s colleagues are promotion-grabbers. They are more interested in being noticed and promoted than they are in helping people.

And Frost is the opposite. Frost is crude and depressive. He tries to help the victims, and he tries to spare the petty criminals who deserve mercy. He tries to do the right thing, even if it means someone will hate him for it. 

When it comes to solving a crime, Jack Frost always values what he thinks is best for the people involved.

Frost never claims the credit. He doesn’t want to do the paperwork, but it’s more than that. He doesn’t want the brass to promote him. He wishes he were still a sergeant.  

There’s no way to describe a Jack Frost book and do it justice. The man is complex, incompetent, caring, and well-intentioned to a fault. He has no friends. He is unable to have even a passing sexual relationship, though he is always talking crudely. He talks like sex is the only thing on his mind.

Frost will frame you in a second if he knows you are guilty.

These books are among the best police procedurals I read. When you buy a Jack Frost book, you get your money’s worth. This paperback was 450 pages long.

Things get worse and worse for Frost. His plans go awry. Every good action he takes, some other cop takes credit for, and Frost doesn’t give a damn.

I haven’t read as good a series as this since I finished Ed McBain. For me, that’s high praise indeed.  

3 comments:

Richard R. said...

I agree, these are excellent books. Both my wife and I love them. It's a pity they are not in print, or that all of them are not, and that they are truly becoming "forgotten".

Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) said...

I'm a big fan of Ed McBain but have yet to read the books in Frost series. I wasn't crazy about the TV series, but then it deviated quite a lot from the books as I understand it. I know Wingfield much more from his radio plays (some of the Frost books were based on his radio work in fact) which is often very tough and cynical - I shall have to keep an eye out for these and make the jump from to audio to prose I think.

Cheers.

Joe Barone said...

If you run across one, why not try it? I find them similar in content. Often, in the middle in find myself saying, "I don't know about this book." But by the end, so far, I have always changed my mind. Thanks for your comment!