10 January 2013

A Cold and Lonely Place; Sara J. Henry

A Cold and Lonely Place: A NovelA Cold and Lonely Place by Sara J. Henry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Is this a mystery? Sort of - our heroine, Troy, is a reporter who happens to be there when a body is found frozen in the ice. Her investigation is more about Tobin's life than about his death, with the "whodunnit" part very much in the background (there is a question as to whether anyone dunnit anyway). That's possibly why this is so annoyingly subtitled "a novel", rather than "a mystery" or "an investigation" or something. It is part of a series, however, and the first book is referenced throughout.

That's part of what cost this the fifth star: the heavyhandedness of the references to the previous book. Troy's supposed to be from a family where she didn't count, estranged from everyone except one brother. She has a problem forming relationships and friendships, yet in the first book she does start to do so - and continues here. There was also a determined effort to set this into the Saranac Lake/Lake Placid area (how many references did we need to Carhart pants? winter sports? transient inhabitants? "Adirondackers"?) which felt forced. Having said that, if you don't know the area (and I do, down to the "diner off exit 22 on the Northway") it probably doesn't feel unnecessary.

As for the mystery/investigation, it was rather typical in terms of Big Family Secrets Revealed and Local Feelings to be dealt with. While there were no surprises, the way in which the author approached Troy's exploration of Tobin's life was well plotted. Troy's relationship with Jessamyn and Win evolve naturally, and one hopes they will continue to grow as the series continues.

Finally, I'm not sure why an American would rely so heavily on a Canadian for advice in terms of police matters... but perhaps that'll be clearer in future books?

ARC provided by publisher.

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