Drew Hayden Taylor’s Cold is the Perfect Read if You’re Feeling Nostalgic for Winter

For those craving the winter that never was this year, I have book for you! Cold by Drew Hayden Taylor, is set in frigid, wintery contemporary Toronto. While the temperatures depicted in the book are cold, the story will also have you shivering as it’s a murder mystery encased in indigenous mythology and storytelling. Taylor, originally from Curve Lake First Nations in Central Ontario, is an Anishinaabe playwright, journalist and novelist.

Cold intricately weaves together the lives of three main characters: Paul, a mid-30s hockey player for the Indigenous Hockey League; Elmore, an Anishinaabe professor of Indigenous Storytelling and Literature at a prestigious university; and Fabiola, a journalist of Caribbean origin who has recently written a book about her experience in a plane crash in Northern Ontario. When I first started reading, I was deeply curious about how these three very different characters would come together but had no need to worry, as Taylor is firmly in the driver’s seat here and has everything planned out perfectly.

Taylor presents a sharply written modern read, with a mix of dark humour and fantastical horror. The novel begins with a dramatic plane crash up North and continues with a series of gruesome and highly suspicious murders. That’s all the details that I’ll reveal though as I really don’t want to give too much away; part of the pleasure of this book is seeing how Taylor masterfully weaves all of these plotlines together.

Being primarily set in Toronto, Taylor honestly depicts the details of contemporary urban life, yet he also addresses difficult Indigenous experiences of the past such as residential schools and some of the challenges of living on a reserve. Paul and Elmore’s memories of their early lives and cultural origins start to expose themselves as the story unfolds.

While I’m not normally a big reader of the murder mystery/horror genres, I was all in on Cold due to its clever writing style, sense of humour and fresh take. Taylor really sets the scene in the novel by declaring, “The familiar cry of the country was being heard all over the city: ‘Will this winter never end?’” Taylor’s description of the cold will make you want to curl up with a blanket as you dive into this brisk and refreshing read.

Kelly I.
Library Assistant, Main Library

Kelly has the great pleasure of spending her time as a Library Assistant at the Main Library. Her favourite things about working at WPL are getting to experience amazing new books all the time, and then write about some of her favourites for the Check It Out blog. When she is away from the library, Kelly loves spending time with her family, who are big into hiking and taking in the great outdoors. Kelly majored in art history at university and so she also loves to immerse herself in all things arts and culture. Her favourite way to spend a Sunday is at an art gallery and then lounging at a café afterwards with a latte in one hand and a great book in the other.