I almost didn’t buy The Girl In The Ice as the basic premise sounds like many other crime thrillers out there, and I read so much of the genre a few years ago that I put myself off the genre to some extent. But, since its release in January, this one has received and lot of hype, so I went for it, and I’m so glad I did. This gripping tale really stands out – it’s one of the best of its genre that I’ve read in years.
So, back to the premise for a moment. Andrea Douglas-Brown, a beautiful young socialite, is found murdered, frozen in the winter ice. The police step with DCI Erika Foster leading the case, and soon uncover links to a string of prostitutes who were murdered years before.
Perhaps the success of books of this genre lies largely with how much the reader likes the detective, and this book didn’t disappoint in that respect. Erika Foster is a well-drawn, relatable character with her fair share of problems and a drive and tenacity for the case which was exciting to read. Often with this genre authors will offer too much back-story on the main detectives leaving me just wanting to get back to the action, or too little meaning I don’t connect with the main characters. For me, Robert Bryndza struck that balance perfectly with Erika, gradually revealing just enough of her background as the story progressed to evoke empathy. There were definitely a few moments when she made some rash decisions and I was internally begging her to turn back, but her flaws just served to make her more human.
The atmosphere, pacing and plot are perfectly pitched here too. Bryndza uses evocative, descriptive writing sparingly enough to immerse the reader in the London winter scenes, without detracting from what is undoubtedly a fast-paced, gripping plot. There were so many suspects, clues and red herrings which kept me guessing throughout and the reveal at the end was satisfying too, I had so many suspicions and yet the real culprit had evaded me! The final few chapters up the ante, feeling like scenes which wouldn’t be out of place in an action movie and I read pretty much the final third in one sitting. Highly recommended for fans of the genre – I’ll be reading the next in the series, The Night Stalker, when it comes out in June.