THE GIRL IN THE ICE
A cold night, fog in the air, and moonlight casting unreliable shadows. She’s upset to the point of wandering so far no one will hear her cry for help. This is the kind of prologue with layers of description that create an atmosphere so tense I was instantly transported to the setting of the crime. Even knowing something terrible was gaining on her, I couldn’t look away. And I didn’t until the last page of this sprint-paced story, which lands perfectly at an ending that satisfies the whodunit faithful.
A British crime mystery that hit several bestseller lists, Robert Bryndza’s The Girl in the Ice introduces a strong female protagonist in Detective Erika Foster. A woman with very recent demons still haunting her, Erika expects to be on desk duty for the foreseeable future. But an old friend, feeling she needs to get back in the game, calls her into a high profile murder investigation of a young socialite whose influential parents seem hell-bent on preventing Foster from solving the case.
Navigating her new team—not all of whom are thrilled to bring her on—adds tension to an already stressed out Foster, whose disdain for authority and fragile psyche take a few chapters to figure out. As protagonists go, she’s well-written and believable, giving the reader more than enough personality to connect with.
With the body count rising Detective Foster challenges those around her to dig deeper to find the common denominator. But the closer she gets the more pressure she gets from her higher-ups to reroute her investigation away from the socialite’s famous family. Foster is abruptly removed from the case and, as strong women are wont to do, seizes the opportunity to go even harder toward her goal. She’s a brilliant, fearless strategist with no apologies for her direct approach, and this is why the series has sold millions of copies.
The dialogue is the strongest aspect of the story, giving the minor characters dimension and depth. Bryndza threads the kind of nuance throughout the dialogue that makes everyone seem like a viable suspect. Fans of Elizabeth George and Ruth Rendell will appreciate the uncompromising style and British elegance of his writing and character building.
Though this was Bryndza’s first in the Erika Foster series he’s just released number six so fans are advised to select a good bottle of red and hunker down with a stack of these page-turning thrillers and get to know Detective Erika Foster.