The Coldest Girl in ColdTown opens with a murder--several of them, in fact. Tana awakens after a party to find everyone else dead of an obvious vampire attack. Why she was spared, she has no idea, but when she discovers her ex-boyfriend Aidan alive, but tied to a bed and infected by a vampire bite, and an actual vampire chained in the same room, she knows she has to help all of them escape. This leads to a road trip toward a ColdTown, areas set aside specifically for vampires and those who worship or want to become them. Gavriel, the vampire, is being sought because he's escaped his prison of torture; Aidan is turning into a vampire himself; Tana fears she's infected and must wait out the time in order to stay human. None of them truly knows what awaits them inside ColdTown, but all suspect it's not going to be pretty. That's an understatement.
Tana's not the most sympathetic character; she's abrupt and scarred, having lived through her mother's descent into vampirism at a young age. Still, she is willing to help Aidan and Gavriel, both of whom need her desperately. In fact, Tana has to fight her own attraction to Gavriel; he's a vampire, for heaven's sake, the thing she is most scared of and what has robbed her of so much in her life. Others she meets along the way run the gamut from helpful to devious to downright dangerous; some put her life in danger and some go beyond the bounds of friendship to help out a girl who has literally nothing left in the world she finds herself inside. Particularly endearing is Valentina, the sweet cashier who not only dresses Tana, but helps her discover what is going on in the huge mansion belonging to the vampire Lucien.
There's so much going on, it's easy to get lost in the action, from Tana and her terror at the thought of turning into a vampire, to her younger sister, Pearl, who loves watching the live feeds of what goes on inside ColdTown. Despite this, I found myself at times contemplating putting the book aside; I found some stretches long (like when the group arrives at ColdTown and takes what seems forever to actually get inside) but those episodes would be followed up by page-turning action that would keep me up past my bedtime. I admit I totally disliked both Midnight and Winter and could have lived without their storyline. I did, however, love the Gavriel/Lucien/Tana parts; the emotional (or unemotional) conflicts were both well written and unexpected. If the story had been pared back to Tana without throwing into too many extraneous characters, this novel would have been a definite five stars. Still, it was interesting and I will look for the sequel because I'm firmly on Tana's side in this bloody story.