Sunday 24 May 2020



After a miscarriage, a young couple move from San Francisco to the Sacramento suburbs to restart their lives. When the vacant house across the street is taken over by who they think are squatters, they’re pulled into a battle neither of them bargained for. The gang of unruly drug addicts who’ve infested their block have a dark and secret history that reaches beyond their neighborhood and all the way to the most powerful and wealthy men in California.

L.A. fixer Calper Dennings is sent by a private party to quell the trouble before it affects his employer. But before he can finish the job, he too is pulled into the violent dark world of a man with endless resources to destroy anyone around him.

Praise for COLDWATER:

“You know those times when your reading slows down and you can’t find the right book to read next? Tom Pitts’s Coldwater was the book I needed to pull me out of those doldrums. I tore through it, gripped by every page. Simply put, Coldwater is a damn good book. A thoughtful and violent tale of bad luck and bad choices. I loved it.” —Johnny Shaw, author of Big Maria and Undocumented

Another cracker from Tom Pitts which sees an innocent married couple crossing paths with an unstable psychopath and his motley crew of misfits and as a result unwittingly drawn into a bigger struggle with an unknown adversary. The usual motives apply..... power, control and money.

Gary and Linda are struggling to regain a sense of normality after the heartbreaking loss of their unborn baby. Suspected squatters move in across the street, the police are called and find nothing and then the threats against them begin and escalate.

Jason runs the gang of four. They take what they want when they want it. They've abused their bodies with drugs. They're cruel and heartless, a thoroughly unlikeable lot. We see encounters with victims; Jason, vicious and in charge. But as the novel develops we learn more about Jason's past, his upbringing, the relationship with his mother and the difficulties she faced, and the cruelty of his father towards them both. Is his personality and adult actions his responsibility alone? Is it his nature or how he was nurtured? Pitts opens our eyes to his previous suffering and posed a tricky question for this reader. Was he deserving of some sympathy?

A PI-type, Calder Dennings is tracking Jason and his cohorts for his employer. He could be the help that Gary and Linda need, bearing in mind that the police are worse than useless. With Gary in particular becoming reliant on Calder and Linda less trusting, there's an ambiguity about his motivations. Is he after the prize of the paycheck from his boss alone and willing for the married couple to be sacrificed as collateral damage?

Calder's employer is less convinced of his hiree's abilities and loyalty. Money's no object, so another party is introduced to the fray.

Home invasion, assault, fear, threats, secrets, history, loss, big money, influence, power, inheritance, surveillance, police, kidnapping, death, mental heath, abuse, poor choices, grief, loss, injury, healing, sycophancy, loyalty, love, a reckoning and a lot more besides.

Interesting, both in the unfolding and discovery of the plot and establishing the main drivers are for the book and why the characters behave as they do.

Dark, in the sense of the actions and motivations and behaviour of more than one character.

Satisfying, both in the groundwork Pitts lays with the plot and the skill in bringing things to a head at the climax.

Right book, right time. Lest I forget - a great Californian setting as well - San Francisco and Sacramento. 
4.5 from 5

Tom Pitts has been enjoyed before - Piggyback, American Static, 101. His earlier works Hustle and Knuckleball still sit on the TBR pile.

Read - May, 2020
Published - 2020
Page count - 230
Source - review copy received from author
Format - Kindle on laptop

Tom was kind enough to appear on the blog yesterday answering a few questions on Coldwater, corn and fistfights - here


  1. I like the location for this one, Col. It's nice to have a setting that isn't necessarily Los Angeles. Sounds as though there are some multi-level characters here, too, which I always appreciate - especially in a thriller sort of a novel. Glad you enjoyed this one.

    1. Margot, thanks. I like LA as a setting but I do enjoy visiting more places in California with my reading.