Cold To The Touch

Kerri Hakoda

Crooked Lane Books

April 9th, 2024

Cold To the Touch by Kerri Hakoda is the author’s debut procedural novel. This story has a serial killer kidnapping women and disposing of their bodies in the Alaskan wilderness.

The serial killer is targeting baristas in the Anchorage Alaska area. The first body was found in the snow, ravaged by predators. To add complications to the case, the homicide detective DeHavilland Beans knew her. He’d bought coffee from her every morning and knew her as a bright college student working her way through school.

“It is my first published novel and am considering writing it as a three-book series. The character, Detective Beans, was written previously in an unpublished novel of mine. This allowed me to understand who he was as a character. The barista idea came from the serial killer Israel Keyes when in 2012 he killed a barista in a drive-thru kiosk in Anchorage.  She was his last victim.  He has only admitted to killing three, including the young woman in Anchorage, but is suspected in killing twelve. This planted the seed for this story, but I wrote it in a totally different direction.”

As more bodies of these coffee baristas wearing skimpy costumes are found, FBI Special Agent Isabelle O’Reilly is brought in along with Dr. Raisa Ingalls, a fish and game expert.  Because scavengers damaged the bodies, Raisa was asked to determine if they were the culprits.  She determines that animal predators did not do the killing, and her hunting-guide father helps Beans isolate the potential murder weapon.

“There were three strong women protagonists in the story, Dr. Raisa Ingalls, Isabelle O’Reilly and one of the victims who escaped, volunteer firefighter, Sarah Yancey. “I did not want to make all the women characters as victims.  They each had their own skills and strengths.  They were tough, dependable, independent, responsible, athletic, smart, and passionate. They know their own minds and are decisive. Since Raisa is a scientist, her job is to observe. Isabelle O’Reilly as a Federal Agent would need to be observant, and Sarah to a lesser extent as a first responder.”

Beans is a complex character, the son of a Japanese mother and Irish Athabaskan father. He is intelligent, willing to use unconventional methods and sources, and is very determined. Because of his poor reputation with fellow officers, he is misunderstood. The women brought in to try to help with the investigation recognize how tense and frustrated he is. In addition, he had a past relationship with Raisa, which hopefully will not be a problem. “I wrote him as study in contrast. He is a passivist but carries a gun. He has a cat who thinks he is a dog. He finds fulfillment in his job, faith, and family. Raisa will appear in book 2, but not as Bean’s love interest.  They do like and respect each other.”

This novel shows why Alaska also plays a role in the book with its diverse landscape, long winter nights, and bitter cold. Readers will want to make sure they find out who the killer is and how will he be caught.



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About the Author

Elise Cooper

Elise writes book reviews that always include a short author interview.