Ice Cold, by Tess Gerritsen

>> Thursday, June 13, 2013

TITLE: Ice Cold (aka The Killing Place in the UK)
AUTHOR: Tess Gerritsen

PAGES: 464
PUBLISHER: Ballantine

SETTING: Contemporary US
TYPE: Mystery / Thriller
SERIES: 8th in the Rizzoli / Isles series

A spur-of-the-moment ski trip becomes a bone-chilling nightmare when a wrong turn leaves Boston medical examiner Maura Isles marooned-far from home and help-in the snowbound Wyoming mountains. Seeking shelter from the cold, she and her traveling companions stumble upon Kingdom Come-a remote village of identical houses that seems to have become a ghost town overnight. But the abandoned hamlet has dark secrets to tell, and Maura's party may not be as alone as they think. Days later, word reaches Boston homicide cop Jane Rizzoli that Maura's charred remains have been found at the scene of a car crash. But the shocking news leaves Jane with too many questions, and only one way to get answers. Determined to dig up the truth, she heads for the frozen desolation of Kingdom Come, where gruesome discoveries lie buried, and a ruthless enemy watches and waits.
A conference in Wyoming provides an excellent opportunity for Maura Isles to have some alone time away from her illicit affair with Father Daniel Brophy. Their relationship is fast becoming a source of more pain than happiness, and Maura realises she'll soon have to make some hard decisions.

While at the conference, Maura runs into an old school friend, who invites her to join him and a few friends on an overnight ski trip. Tired of always being responsible and serious, Maura accepts, only to regret her decision mere hours into the trip. Her friend's GPS, intent on getting them to the ski lodge via the shortest route, leads them onto a deserted seasonal road in the middle of a heavy snowstorm (I really felt the characters' pain: a couple of years ago, a GPS called Esmeralda kept trying to make us drive up goat paths in the mountains of Southern Italy. She almost drove us off a cliff a couple of times, the bitch). Trying to turn around and go back, their SUV ends up in a ditch, and the group in danger of freezing and/or starving to death.

Fortunately (?), Maura spots a private road leading to a group of houses. The group find food and shelter there, but it's an eerie, mysterious place. The house they first go into seems to have been abandoned on the spur of the moment. A meal, complete with poured glasses of milk, is frozen of the table, and windows have been left open. The next morning they find a dead dog buried in the snow, with no indication of how it died, and a pool of blood at the bottom of another house's stairs. And it seems someone is watching...

Much as I liked the last two in this series, they were a bit samey. This changes the tone completely. The first half or so, especially, was my favourite, because it felt almost like a horror movie. The isolation, the feeling that they can't seem to leave, because bad things happen when they try... it was brilliant.

Then things just flip, and the book changes into a chase. And then into a medical mystery. Although I liked what Gerritsen did with all of these, I had developed a certain attachment to the group Maura was with, so it felt a bit weird that they were so unceremoniously dumped.

Still, as a mystery, it was pretty damned good. The puzzle is... well... really, really puzzling, and the way it develops is tense and gripping. I had to limit myself to 1 CD a day, otherwise I would have gobbled it up in a few sittings. It did make my daily hour on the treadmill speed by, though! I guessed the how quite early, mainly because the plot put me in mind of PJ Tracy's Dead Run, and I remembered what had happened there, but I didn't quite guess the why or who, and that was quite the surprise. It closed things down very satisfyingly.

On the character development front, the focus is mostly on Maura and Daniel, and it's clear from the start that their relationship is coming to a turning point, to where one of them will have to make a difficult decision. As well they should, their relationship has been unsustainable for a couple of books now. Something does happen, and I thought it was the right thing. There's less happening with Jane, only that she's becoming pretty smug in her perfect married life, and that's making her irritating. There's also a new character who's introduced, whom I became very fond of. I really hope we see more of Rat, even if he comes with those weirdos, as the ending suggests!


AUDIOBOOK NOTES: This one was narrated by Tanya Eby. I don't really have that much to say about it. It was fine. Unobtrusive, I suppose.


Wendy 18 June 2013 at 00:27  

My clear favorite of the last several in this series. I remember inhaling the first half, although like you I was kind of sad to see the story shift away from the "horror" vibe in the latter half (it's necessary I think, but still....) I also really appreciated that Gerritsen ends up bringing some finality to the whole Maura/Daniel thing.....

Rosario 19 June 2013 at 06:49  

I completely agree about Maura and Daniel, but I was still a bit afraid at the end that she'd somehow bring them back together. Please tell me she doesn't end up with Sansone!!!

Christine,  24 July 2013 at 21:14  

Was there anyone who read these who was a fan of Maura and Daniel? That couple was a train wreck waiting to happen. I really cannot stand those weak "I want it both ways" men like him. Sansone came off as very sinister to me when he was first introduced but I warmed up to him the more I read. Maybe it's just the contrast of having a man with a strong personality featured for a change.

Rosario 27 July 2013 at 08:22  

Christine: I'd be very surprised if there was anyone who was. I have no issues with a priest realising he's fallen in love, and would probably have but been interested in him soulsearching to decide what to do next. However, that's not what happened. As you say, he wanted to have his cake and eat it, and I just couldn't respect that.

As for Sansone, I just can't forget that he's part of that crackpot Mephisto Club, but I suppose compared to Daniel, he comes across much better!

Post a Comment

Blog template by

Back to TOP