Fire and Ice
Julie Garwood
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Fire and Ice
Julie Garwood
400 pages
December 2009
rated 3 of 5 possible stars

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I've really liked several of Julie Garwood's previous books and was looking forward to this one when I opened its pages. I found Fire and Ice something of a disappointment, although I'm not entirely clear why.

Sophie Rose is a reporter at a Chicago newspaper. Her father is a big-time thief, a kind of modern Robin Hood. People are always trying to get Sophie to inform on him, which she refuses to do. When she meets Jack MacAlister from the FBI, she's afraid he'll also be after information on her father. In fact, he wants to help protect her when it becomes clear her life is in danger.

Jack and Sophie travel to Alaska to follow a lead in a mysterious death of a 5k runner whom Sophie had interviewed, but the danger may also have moved to Prudhoe Bay from Chicago. Sophie and Jack will need to rely on each other to keep safe and to uncover the mystery.

As observed by an Englishwoman unused to guns, Jack seems to shoot rather a lot of people through the course of the book. I think he finished off about ten people - which would, for example, be one-fifth of the entire gun deaths in the United Kingdom in one year. I'm glad he went to Alaska and not Britain; we wouldn't know what to do with a trigger-happy person like him! That aside, I liked Sophie's tenacity in following the story about the runner, William Harrington, and her loyalty to her father, although the author cheats a little in making him a Robin Hood character. He would have been more interesting if he were a proper 'baddie' and Sophie's loyalty were tested more strongly between family and 'right.'

Garwood does a reasonable job of explaining the cold of Alaska, but wasn't totally convinced by it at all times and didn't find the book as a whole particularly gripping. The short sections from the point of view of a scientist working up in Alaska are also rather unnecessary and don't add enough to the story.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Helen Hancox, 2011

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