The Ice Maiden
Edna Buchanan
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The Ice Maiden

Edna Buchanan
William Morrow
304 pages
October 2002
rated 3 of 5 possible stars

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Miami News reporter Britt Montero rushes to the scene of a burglary gone bad to find a corpse dangling from the ceiling. It turns out the ‘victim/perp’ was involved in an old, cold case investigated by Detective Sergeant Craig Burch, who now is a leading investigator for the police department’s ‘Cold Case Squad’.

Fourteen years earlier, a horrific crime against a teenage couple out on their first date ended with the young man dead and the girl viciously attacked, shot and left for dead. Only she didn’t die, but survived, and now leads the life of a young artiste and recluse. At the time, a gang of black youths had been identified as the perpetrators of the attack, though nothing had ever been proven, and the case had gone cold.

Determined to reopen the case due to the fact that the dead man from the burglary fits the description of one of the youths accused of the long-ago crime, Detective Burch enlists Britt’s help in contacting the female victim, Sunny Hartley, who has unfortunately earned the nickname ‘The Ice Maiden’. Britt forges a tentative relationship with the eccentric young lady while Burch and his squad investigates new leads, each one turning up more questions than answers. Old wounds never heal, and before too long both Britt and Sunny feel a threatening pressure build from all sides as she delves deeper into the mystery and events of that long ago Christmas Eve. Nothing is at it truly seems, and Britt finds herself and Sunny caught in an ever expanding web of deceit, violence and shame that has ever growing consequences.

Buchanan’s expertise in the field of suspense shines through in The Ice Maiden. Her fallible heroine is a relief, as are the three-dimensional bad guys. All serve to propel a well-developed plot line forward toward a completely unexpected ending.

© 2002 by Denise M. Clark for Curled Up With a Good Book

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