Sizzling Cold Case: Reviews
Barnaby Jones Audible Is Great, Viable Nostalgia
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
Why I picked the audiobook format for the Barnaby Jones novel was because I already spend all my work life reading, or at a computer screen, writing on either legal pads or computer. “Sizzling Cold Case” was the one Buddy Ebsen book I had not yet owned or read, so learning it was newly available on Audible.com made my day. But, the only thing I knew about the book going in was that it was a Barnaby Jones novel, Buddy’s vision of the next case Barnaby would be working on, which was in fact a cold case. If you loved the TV show, this is a terrific opportunity where nostalgia and a good, solid mystery intersect. If you like Buddy Ebsen, you have to hear this book… or read it, whichever is most convenient for you.
What was one of the most memorable moments of Sizzling Cold Case?
The case central to this story is actually one that was the final case detective Hal Jones was working on before he was killed. Barnaby Jones came out of retirement, if viewers/readers recall, in the TV show when Hal was killed, to resume his forensic sleuthing. So, this case, too, finds Barnaby being pulled from retirement back into the fray yet again. It was poignant, not contrived, and very sweet that Buddy Ebsen was willing to write his second-most famous TV character back into action one last time.
Which character – as performed by William E. Fortier – was your favorite?
The book is really 90% Barnaby’s voice so unquestionably it was Barnaby Jones’ character. Buddy Ebsen portrayed the character on TV for eight seasons and 179 episodes. Far, far beyond a nice gentleman who preferred a glass of cold milk to ‘adult beverages,’ Barnaby was a detective who could stand with Colombo, Mannix, and the Mission Impossible Team and be believable. Fortier’s strength was doing Barnaby’s voice. While listening, it was so easy to visualize the old television show “Barnaby Jones” episodes I used to watch that I thought I was right back in the 1970s waiting for the familiar theme by Jerry Goldsmith to come on and open the CBS weekly program. Pretty tough challenge for a 2017 listen, but I wasn’t disappointed.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
From the very opening chapter (there are 66 of them) in the book, you’re pulled back into Barnaby’s reminiscence of how his son, Hal, had been murdered, and now a thread from the past introduced a connection to understanding what really happened in what would be Hal’s last case that he was working on before his death.
The reopening of the Lori London case began immediately. Hearing the scene describing a location familiar to everyone who lives in or has toured Los Angeles…the iconic Walk of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard. It is there where Barnaby surveils someone putting a single rose on the star of the late actress Lori London, whose life story is central to the theme of the book and whose passing was previously considered a suicide, when Barnaby’s late son, Hal, didn’t believe that for a minute. Barnaby takes up where Hal left off, even though it had been a few years since he’d been active.
Also, watching this event from a different purview is a newly christened detective, Craig Scott, and then the story takes off. A red Ferrari driven by a gentleman who placed a red rose on the sidewalk, stood silently for a moment, and as fast as that car drives away, you’re whisked away on quite the adventure.
Cold cases are always the most interesting of mysteries for any reader to unravel, because you must learn the predicate of the case, then you think through along with the detective about current events and wonder how to deconstruct the case to ultimately find a correct logical solution to the crime that was mis-solved and remained unsolved all this time. This time, there is closure for Hal’s death in that his last case is finally resolved and solved, giving the reader closure.
Any additional comments?
On April 2, 2017, when I actually wrote this review first for my blog, it seems appropriate that the review of the audio version of “Sizzling Cold Case” fell on the birthday of the primary author, Buddy Ebsen (born April 2, 1908 in Belleville, Illinois). Most Baby Boomer fans of the legendary entertainer know and revere Ebsen as an accomplished actor in television and movies and some will recall him all the way back to his days as a vaudeville showman. Add in his movie career in early musicals and westerns as well as stage actor among his multifaceted talents. But that’s not all.
Buddy was also an award-winning sailor, designer of catamarans, winner of competitive racing, author, singer, songwriter and painter, who first made his mark in entertainment as a dancer. Collectively, that should qualify for classification of Ebsen as a Renaissance man. So, before I listened to the book I reflected on what I might hope to hear the story be. Any fan of classic television has at the ready a complete list of their favorite shows, their favorite stars and their favorite episodes.
They can readily recall “the one when…” and give great and glorious detail down to the episode director, plus name the weekly TV sponsors. “Barnaby Jones” was one of those shows. Unquestionably, this book, especially a narrated mystery, produced exactly the result I was hoping for…a nice trip down memory lane with an old friend (Barnaby) solving one more case, one that had a strong connection to ones i’d enjoyed via the TV show. That, and it was Buddy’s final book, completed by author and longtime family friend, Darlene Quinn, made it like a chance to see one final episode of the series, and have closure, just like The Gilmore Girls “Year in the Life” had ‘finished the story’ for that show.
Barnaby Jones was, and remains, a thinking person’s detective, armed with an equal dose of charm, sage pondering, and reflective questioning before settling on an answer, and a perpetrator. It’s great television of yesteryear and fulfilling reading/listening present day. Get the book, in whatever format you want it. Case closed.
Comes to Life
Where does Sizzling Cold Case rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
This is the first one.
Any additional comments?
I have read the print version of this book and enjoyed the great mystery but hearing Mr. Fortier’s performance really brought the book to life for me. It had been years since I read the book and I had forgotten how the mystery was solved and Mr. Fortier really brought the suspense to the story, I didn’t want to stop at the end of the chapter so I had to make sure I had plenty of time before I let myself get involved each day.
Reflections on “Sizzling Cold Case” (The Legend of Lori London) — A Barnaby Jones Novel (by Buddy Ebsen with Darlene Quinn)
“The original plan for the book “Sizzling Cold Case,” by Buddy Ebsen with Darlene Quinn, was originally intended to be a teleplay, but author Buddy Ebsen also realized it could be a standalone book as well. He’d filled many yellow legal pads with his handwritten prose (his favored way of writing) with exactly that dual intent, before he became ill and died on July 6, 2003 at age 95. His widow, Dorothy Ebsen, was determined to share his final book with all who loved him, as her collective gift to her husband’s fans. Enter family friend and author Darlene Quinn, who was clearly the right person to take Buddy’s manuscript and complete it.”
“This information was learned from listening to a recent interview shared on Kiki Ebsen’s web site, “Buddy Ebsen Birthday Chat,”—a lovely discussion between Kiki, Dorothy Ebsen and Darlene Quinn. They reminisced over some great memories, and shared some insight on the book. First published in hardback, and later in paperback and for Kindle, there’s an entirely new format that caught my eye, or ear, rather—audiobook.”
“Chalk it up to a nice quality of William E. Fortier’s voice as narrator, but while listening, it was so easy to visualize the old television show “Barnaby Jones” episodes I used to watch that I thought I was right back in the 1970s waiting for the familiar theme by Jerry Goldsmith to come on and open the CBS weekly program.”
“What a pleasant surprise to find out that Buddy Ebsen had left an unfinished manuscript behind for his fans to enjoy years after his passing. Barnaby Jones steps out of the past and into our lives yet again. Sizzling Cold Case: The Legend of Lori London is about an unsolved murder investigation that Barnaby’s son was working on at the time of his death. Years later, still nagging Barnaby he decides to hire himself to solve it. The murder took place during the time period of the T.V. show. It brings back that Hollywood glam period of big shoulder pads and even bigger hair. Lori London was a star from that era and had all the vices that go with coming into your own in the 1970’s. All the old favorites are in the book: Betty, Jedediah and Lieutenant Biddle. Ms. Quinn filled in effortlessly as if channeling Barnaby Jones’ spirit. There are some good twists here. The writing is tight, chapters end on a push into the next and before you know it late into the night you’ve helped Barnaby solve yet another crime. Let’s hope the Estate of Buddy Ebsen lets Ms. Quinn tackle another Barnaby Jones case, we miss him. Maybe the release of this book will generate enough interest to bring back Jonestalgia, leading to reruns of the series, How about TV Land or KDOC? A good read for those who miss the old days when a milk-swilling senior citizen could catch the bad guy without gratuitous violence and morgue close-ups.”
L. De Vincent
“I read this book a few years back because I just love Buddy Ebsen. Low and behold, I found another Great author in the process. Check out Darlene Quinn’s other books. Well written and perfectly paced. Wonderful words!”
“Sizzling Cold Case: The Legend of Lori London: A Barnaby Jones Novel is a private investigator mystery novel written by Buddy Ebsen with Darlene Quinn. So many leads had been fruitless in the Lori London case, and Buddy had no way of knowing if the LA Times article written a year earlier held the key to finally solving the mystery around her supposed suicide. He wouldn’t tell Betty unless he had something more concrete than a hunch — his daughter-in-law had had enough of a hard time getting over the murder of her husband, Buddy’s son, Hal. Hal and Lori had been as close as brother and sister, and he had never accepted the official verdict of suicide. So Buddy waited near Lori’s star on Hollywood Boulevard. His stature and appearance were out of place there, especially at night, but he waited to see if the mysterious man who purportedly left a rose on her star once each year would appear. Suddenly, a red Ferrari pulled up, and a formally dressed young man stepped out with a rose in his hand. As Buddy rushed over to speak with him, Detective Scott, who was surveilling the area and had noticed Buddy, stopped him in his tracks, demanding identification and a reason for his prolonged visit to that part of town. Fortunately, Buddy had already noticed the license plate on the Ferrari, and he knew Betty would be able to track the man down. For now, he’d introduce himself to the somewhat overzealous police officer.”
“Buddy Ebsen and Darlene Quinn’s private investigator mystery novel, Sizzling Cold Case: The Legend of Lori London: A Barnaby Jones Novel, will thrill those readers who remember the series which ran during the 1970s, and have those unfamiliar with the show trying to find old episodes on the internet. I was a big fan of both Barnaby Jones and Frank Cannon, so this was a treat to read. I found myself mentally picturing Buddy, Betty and JR as they worked so well as a team to solve the mystery of Lori London’s death. Sizzling Cold Case is exciting and well-plotted, and there are plenty of red herrings and possible endings for the armchair sleuth to consider in this tale set eighteen years after the rising star’s inexplicable death by suicide. It was indeed a pleasure to follow Barnaby Jones again as he unravels this mystery. I’m hoping to see more Barnaby Jones mysteries. Sizzling Cold Case: The Legend of Lori London: A Barnaby Jones Novel is most highly recommended.”
Jack Magnus: Readers’ Favorite
“Sizzling Cold Case by Buddy Ebsen is an unusual novel for several reasons. About 100 pages of it was written by Buddy Ebsen who those of a certain age will recall was the actor who played Jed Clampett in “The Beverley Hillbillies” and, later, the role of Barnaby Jones in the television series of the same name. While Buddy survived to the age of 95, he didn’t manage to complete the manuscript so his friend Darlene Quinn, herself an author, finished it for him. In her own words she “needed to add a few words, characters, and sub-plots to craft a novel. However, I remained true to Buddy’s concept and felt as if he was right beside me and approved of the scenes.” The end result is something that could well have been finished by Buddy himself.”
“It is written in the first person, as though the narrator is the legendary LA private detective, Barnaby Jones. As for the story itself, Lori London, a beautiful Hollywood starlet and friend of Barnaby and his deceased son, Hal, died suddenly eighteen years ago. Though her death was ruled a suicide, neither Barnaby nor Hal believed that it was; it had to be homicide. When another rising star, a dead ringer for Lori, is cast in the movie version of Lori’s demise with a new “surprise” ending, on-set accidents, death threats, arson and murder make it clear someone doesn’t want the truth to be told. In his search for the truth, Barnaby discovers a connection between Lori’s homicide and the man who murdered his own son and must once more confront his son’s killer, currently languishing in a supermax prison, to get at the truth.”
“Sizzling Cold Case reads like a good old fashioned whodunit and it is told in a similar style. That said, the narrative did hold my interest right to the denouement; throughout the story I was curious to see where Barnaby’s investigation would lead me next. I’m not sure the LAPD would allow such leeway to a private investigator in a murder investigation, but hey, who cares? It’s a good yarn and who wants to see implausibility get in its way? This is an easy-to-read but hard-to-put-down murder mystery. I’m sure Buddy would be pleased with the end result. Barnaby certainly was.”
Darryl Greer: Readers’ Favorite
“Sizzling Cold Case by Buddy Ebsen, with Darlene Quinn, is a Barnaby Jones mystery. Barnaby Jones was a retired private detective. Hal, his son, had been trying to solve the death of a close friend. Lori London was a famous movie star and was like a family member to Barnaby and Hal. The police ruled her death as a suicide. Hal and Barnaby disagreed with their verdict. Although the case is closed, Hal continues investigating her suspicious death. There are few leads and he has to continue working on his other cases. Before he can clear Lori’s name, Hal is murdered. After that, Barnaby comes out of retirement to catch his killer. Years have passed, Barnaby is still an investigator and Hal’s murderer is in prison, but no new clues to Lori’s death have surfaced until now. A lone red rose left for Lori and the license plates spelling M O R G U E on the car seen speeding away from her star on Hollywood Boulevard are enough to give the stubborn detective a hot lead on the cold case.”
“If you are a fan of Barnaby Jones, then you are going to love Sizzling Cold Case by Buddy Ebsen with Darlene Quinn! It was an amazing trip down Memory Lane! I had seen the show in the seventies and it was pleasant renewing my acquaintances with Barnaby, Betty, J.R. and Lieutenant Biddle. This is a wonderful tribute to Buddy Ebsen and his character, Barnaby Jones. If you like a good murder mystery with twists and turns, solved by a detective who uses a whole lot of common sense to solve crimes, then I recommend you read this. I enjoyed it as much as I did the show, maybe even more!”
Susan Sewell: Readers’ Favorite
“The Barnaby Jones Private Investigations agency solves another murder mystery. Barnaby, with assistance from his two associates, daughter-in-law Betty and his cousin’s son Jedidiah, set out to solve an 18-year-old case – Lori London, a starlet and also a close friend of Hal Jones, Barnaby’s son, who was murdered while working on the same case years earlier. Hollywood police had determined Lori’s death was a suicide, but Barnaby and others never accepted this theory. Tommy Morgan, the owner of a movie-making company called Universal Enterprises, also has a special connection to Lori. And he plans to make a movie about what really happened. Sizzling Cold Case: (The Legend of Lori London) A Barnaby Jones Novel by Buddy Ebsen with Darlene Quinn is a thrilling mystery, with many twists and turns and unexpected surprises.”
“Buddy Ebsen, who played Barnaby Jones on the popular television series, along with author Darlene Quinn, captures the essence of this deliberate, astute and gentlemanly main character. Resistant to modern technology of cellphones and computers, the private investigator studies every detail to find the murderer. Likewise, the development of every other character in the book is as finely-tuned; the reader feels as if they have met each one of them in person. Buddy Ebsen and Darlene Quinn, authors of Sizzling Cold Case: (The Legend of Lori London) A Barnaby Jones Novel, have crafted an intriguing and entertaining mystery. Although the mystery was solved through some old-fashioned, methodical detective work, the story was fast-paced and engaging. A delightful murder mystery in every way!”
Deborah Lloyd: Readers’ Favorite
“Sizzling Cold Case by Buddy Ebsen is a thrilling noir type mystery. When a local newspaper prints a story regarding a starlet’s eighteen-year-old unsolved murder, the reporter inadvertently tips off Private Investigator Barnaby Jones. It’s been eight years after his son Hal’s murder. Barnaby has more reasons to solve the case of young starlet Lori London’s death than anyone. Or so he thinks. Determined to clear the name of his son’s friend and solve the murder case, Hal didn’t get a chance to close, Barnaby relinquishes all his current cases to his nephew. Barnaby knew Lori as a child and never believed that the police’s suicide ruling was correct. Lori wasn’t that kind of a girl. Plus, Hal had been confident that the police were remiss in the suicide ruling. Lori had given Hal every reason to believe that she had everything to live for. Why would she kill herself at the peak of her life? When Barnaby investigates the new lead in the cold case, he finds more than he ever hoped for. Now, Barnaby must face his son’s killer and ask questions. Questions he isn’t sure he’s ready to face.”
“Sizzling Cold Case by Buddy Ebsen is the perfect read for fans of the Barnaby Jones show. Although Buddy started this book, his wife, Dorothy, helped to see his work completed after his death in 2009. Co-author Darlene Quinn finished this book as a tribute to actor Buddy Ebsen. Having watched reruns of the show, I enjoyed reading this book as I felt I knew the characters, although, had I not seen the show, I may have had a hard time placing the characters as they could come off rather shallow if you haven’t seen the show first. It was a blast from the past, even though it was placed in the (somewhat) present. I found the book entertaining and really enjoyed reading Sizzling Cold Case!”
Alyssa Elmore: Reader’s Favorite
“If this book were by a nameless author, I’d give it three stars. It is somewhat over-written, and the jumps between first and third person points of view are awkward and jarring. However, the book is from a story by Buddy Ebsen, and its subject is the private eye he played in a hit series for eight seasons. The novelty of a star writing a book in the universe of his character gives this book a unique appeal.”
“Sizzling Cold Case was completed after Ebsen’s death by Darlene Quinn, and it is impossible for me to tell if the flaws in the prose come from Ebsen or Quinn. However, since Quinn completed and evidently was responsible for any revisions, I’m going to lay them at her door. But this isn’t the first book I’ve read by an author more in love with adjectives than clarity, and it won’t be the last. LOL”
“Recommended — more as a curiosity than as a top flight novel.”
“The Milkman is Back! What a pleasant surprise to find out that Buddy Ebsen had left an unfinished manuscript behind for his fans to enjoy years after his passing. Barnaby Jones steps out of the past and into our lives yet again. Sizzling Cold Case: The Legend of Lori London is about an unsolved murder investigation that Barnaby’s son was working on at the time of his death. Years later, still nagging Barnaby he decides to hire himself to solve it. The murder took place during the time period of the T.V. show. It brings back that Hollywood glam period of big shoulder pads and even bigger hair. Lori London was a star from that era and had all the vices that go with coming into your own in the 1970’s. All the old favorites are in the book: Betty, Jedediah and Lieutenant Biddle. Ms. Quinn filled in effortlessly as if channeling Barnaby Jones’ spirit. There are some good twists here. The writing is tight, chapters end on a push into the next and before you know it late into the night you’ve helped Barnaby solve yet another crime. Let’s hope the Estate of Buddy Ebsen lets Ms. Quinn tackle another Barnaby Jones case, we miss him. Maybe the release of this book will generate enough interest to bring back Jonestalgia, leading to reruns of the series. How about TV Land or KDOC? A good read for those who miss the old days when a milk-swilling senior citizen could catch the bad guy without gratuitous violence and morgue close-ups.”
Barnes & Noble: Anonymous
“Nostalgic and fun. Sizzling Cold Case was a nostalgic trip for me to read. It is based on the Barnaby Jones TV series of the 70’s. Although set in present day, throughout the book I was taken back in time to a show I watched and loved. It was thoroughly enjoyable to read – which I did in just a few days. What made the book especially fun for me was the use of character so familiar and real. Sizzling Cold Case is a fresh new Barnaby Jones mystery. I recommend it for all those who watched and loved the show and for anyone else that enjoys a good mystery.”
Barnes & Noble: Anonymous
“This nostalgic trip down memory lane will keep you entertained until the Barnaby Jones television show is finally released on DVD. Actually, it was kind of nice to revisit an old friend…lots of happy memories watching the TV show with my Grandmother who could pull Schlitz beer bottle caps off with her teeth and spit it out with accuracy into the Charles Chips tin she used as a trash can and kept next to her old black & white Zenith.”
Gordon Thomas Frank
“A Tribute to Buddy. You couldn’t help but like Buddy Ebsen. From the rangy, gangly but gracefull partner in Shirly Temple’s dance marathon to the quixotic, wry but penetrating, persevering Barnaby Jones, Buddy was disarming and lovable. And Buddy Ebsen loved Barnaby Jones. His post mortem tribute to the TV character returns the detective to full life, what with Darlene Quinn’s masterful completion of the multi-talented Ebson’s novel. The Ebsen/Quinn combo offer a tantalizing tale with every option to the long shelved mystery explored, so the reader gets to enjoy the excitement as Barnaby zeros in on the guilty prey. A Sizzling Cold Case is anything but cold in the hands of these two wizards. A great read, and an even greater tribute to a talented and lovable Buddy Ebsen.”
Barnes & Noble: Anonymous
Sizzling Cold Case Sizzles!
“Darlene Quinn has taken Sizzling Cold Case, her late friend Buddy’s Ebsen’s unfinished Barnaby Jones script and turned it into sizzlingly readable mystery novel. With lies, scandals, death threats, family loyalties and deceits: this is more than your average murder mystery. The “cold case” is that of Marilyn-Monroe-like screen star Lori London, whose “suicide” eighteen years ago does not ring true to sleuth Barnaby Jones or his new sidekick Detective Craig Scott or Hollywood producer Tommy Montague. When Montague attempt to film The True Story Behind the Lori London Legend, attempts are made to stop him. Endeavors like arson, sabotage, poisonings, threatening letters, even a near hit on Barnaby himself cloud their efforts to solve the mystery of Lori London. Barnaby and his police associates manage to get him an interview in maximum security Pelican Bay prison with the man who killed Barnaby’s son and who is one of the keys to finding the real killer of the movie star. Family relationships, friendships, weird characters, love-hate-indifference all weave through this novel to make it a page-turner. Darlene Quinn finds the voice of Barnaby Jones, weaves his stories with her own, and ties everything together in a satisfactory conclusion that would no doubt please her dear friend Buddy Ebsen.”
Barnes & Noble: Anonymous
Barnaby is Back!
“What a wonderful journey down memory lane! Barnaby sprang to life on each and every page. The reader is taken on a thrilling ride back to visit the warm and wonderful characters of Barnaby Jones TV series that ran for eight full seasons. Too many, Buddy Ebsen and Barnaby are one and the same, so it is no surprise that the dialogue and action are true to character. However, Buddy and/or his co-author did a great deal of research on the compelling subplots as they are not only informative but one hundred percent actuate. The trip to Crescent City’s notorious Pelican Bay Prison and meeting with the man who murdered Barnaby’s own son in cold blood was vivid. The TV series opened with the murder of Barnaby’s son, so it is quite fitting that this man resurface. I also enjoyed the opposing slant on stem cell research, and the unique way that Lori London died. I checked it out and found the authors did not overlook a single detail (neither the auto mechanics or drug detail.) Pick up this marvelous whodunit today, but don’t begin reading too late in the evening or you will surely miss your bedtime.”
Barnes & Noble: Anonymous
“What a wonderful way to spend an evening. I say “AN EVENING” because I found I couldn’t put this compelling “How Dun it” book down. I loved watching the old Barnaby Jones TV shows and was thrilled to find this novel. I love the fact that Barnaby was brought into the present. The characters were exactly as I remembered them. The fact that JR now uses a computer and a cell phone, while Barnaby resists, is wonderful, true to character. and placed me right into the captivating tale. I recently attended a fund raiser for the choir program at Los Alamitos High School, and had the privilege of hearing Darlene Quinn and another author speak. Darlene Quinn, who finished the manuscript that Buddy Ebsen left behind, made it clear that Sizzling Cold Case is no ghost written book. The core story of the mega-star Lori London, how she died, who was responsible for her death, how he escaped being caught, and many of the captivating scenes were directly from Buddy Ebsen’s pen. Since the manuscript was unfinished, Mrs. Quinn told us she found it necessary to add characters (mostly those from the TV episodes) and sub-plots to turn Buddy’s manuscript into a novel. “Who but Buddy Ebsen could bring this charismatic character back to life,” Quinn stated. I’d highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in a compelling story as well as Barnaby Jones fans, who will find this novel a real treasure–Quinn kept true to the beloved PI’s character and voice.”
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