Posted in 5 Stars, Book Review

REVIEW: Cold Calling by Russell Mardell


Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Comedy
Publisher: Matador
Publication Date: 
February 3, 2016
Formats Available: 
Kindle, Paperback

Still reeling from the break-up with the love of his life, insurance firm cold-caller Ray English has become a bit of a screw up. Cynical and withdrawn, Ray is aimlessly drifting through life in London with his long suffering best friend, Danny. However, once he is asked to reform his college band for a friend’s wedding, Ray is soon forced to face up to his old life, and the hometown he had tried so hard to turn his back on.

Anya Belmont is a woman with a secret and a history that continues to shape her life. A coffee shop owner in Salisbury, Anya is successful, yet bored; married, yet lonely. She is also slowly being driven to distraction by her highly temperamental friend, the child-hating children’s author, Eva Cunningham.

Through fate, coincidence or just bad timing, Ray and Anya’s lives begin to change when Ray cold-calls Anya and the two strike up a seemingly innocuous conversation. Against their better judgement, their conversation is soon the start of a relationship played out over the phone. But can there ever be anything real in a phone call?

MY RATING: 📚 📚 📚 📚 📚

I’ll be honest–I requested this book solely because of the title and the cover. I’m sure I read the book description, but I couldn’t remember a bit of it when I finally got around to reading it. There’s a danger in judging a book by its cover, as countless movies and TV shows have taught us, but every once in a while, it results in something pleasantly phenomenal.

One thing I really enjoyed about Cold Calling is how the characters are loveable, despite their unloveable characteristics. Ray English is a bit of a mess. He’s hung up on his ex-girlfriend Katie nearly five years after their five-month relationship ended. At thirty, he doesn’t have any career plans or directions; instead, he’s still living with his college buddy, Danny. Danny’s not much better than Ray, other than the fact that he’s let his past girlfriends go. Anya has built a hedge around her heart and refuses to let anyone inside–anyone except Ray, that is, when he surprises her with a cold call about her husband’s life insurance policy. And Eva . . . well, Eva is the ugliness that we all carry inside us.

I love this book for the same reason I love the movie (500) Days of Summer. Through it, we see the danger that lies in romanticizing the past and refusing to let it go. There is also an element of The Five People You Meet in Heaven too, although not at all in the afterlife sense. The ways in which total strangers can touch each other’s lives is astounding, and this book does a brilliant job of showcasing that.

The ending is not what I was expecting, and I love it for that. This is a nice, quick read guaranteed to warm your heart and make you laugh out loud.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.



Olivia Ard is the author of women's fiction trilogy The Bennett Series and Readers' Favorite 5-Star recipient 'Tis the Season. She is pursuing a second degree in sociology. She and her husband JD live in Central Alabama, where they await their miracle baby's arrival this November with joyful expectation.

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