Cold Comfort
Cold Comfort audiobook sample - Narrated by Mark Sando
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In December, 2004, John Colucci was found not guilty of murder by reason of insanity. Declared incompetent at age 19, he was subsequently committed to a mental institution. In January, 2013, he is released to his sister, Laurie, to begin a new life…but someone wants to make sure he never gets the chance to live it.


John's enemies include half the population of Kingsville, his home town. Even his brother-in-law is determined to see him returned to the institution. As John struggles to navigate his independence, he meets Caitlin Murphy, a young woman who changes his life. Surrounded by the solitude of Caitlin's lakefront cottage, supported by her and his new friend Rev. Jack, he finds a reason to live. However, it isn't long before the nightmares begin again, shattering the peace and forcing John to fight for his life and what’s left of his sanity.


The hunt is on.



In Cold Comfort, E.W. Abernathy takes readers into John Colucci's chaotic world. Through his eyes we experience emotional extremes from despair to hope, through love and danger, to a shocking climax. A well-paced thriller delivered in masterful prose and with believable characters, this novel is one to devour—and keep to read again. It's that satisfying.


-RLB Hartmann, author of the Cordero Saga, Tierra del Oro




It's brave to tackle schizophrenia in a crime novel, even braver to write it in first person. It is an illness often misunderstood and often demonized.

John Colucci had has been dealt a bad hand and is not even playing with a full deck. Then there are the voices in his head, memory gaps leaving him unaware why he is even in a mental hospital, while the other patients clearly know and hate him for the crime he is believed to have committed.

In the book we only know what John knows, outside information is fed to him by others, most with their own agendas, including Caitlin Murphy. John's attempts to “self medicate” with drugs and alcohol in his youth, rings true, it is sadly common among the mentally ill. It also explains his inability to account for what happened the night he was supposed to have committed murder.

I would like to add that in one way I understand his brother-in-law Randy. He is a policeman and firmly believes that John has committed the crime that would make him hated and despised, on the bottom of the criminal hierarchy. One can imagine how it would be to show up at work after becoming legal guardian for John and hence his protector.

-Susanne C., reader


Taut and unrelenting, Cold Comfort snatches you up and never lets go. From clinical asylum rooms to cold streets, Abernathy, immerses the reader in a world that is all too real. Right out of the gate, John Colucci is a both a challenging and rewarding protagonist. We're in his shoes as he struggles to reintegrate into his family and town, when neither want him. 

But as new dangers and old horrors emerge, which threaten his safety and sanity, so do new friends. Abernathy brings Reverend Jack and Caitlin to life with the same fully formed intensity and honesty as our protagonist. 

Abernathy's experience in the courts is evident, without becoming academic. You can hear shoes scuff on the floors and smell the janitor's cart in the halls. You can also feel the evil breathing down John's neck. 

-Elias McClellan, reader



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