A few weeks ago Simon and Schuster featured Lee Week’s British ‘DC Ebony Willis’ crime series in one of their newsletters. The first book was free, and books 2-4 were heavily discounted — I bought them. Why not I thought, I like a good crime thriller. This review is about ‘Cold as Ice’ (book 2 in the series).
The first book (Dead as Winter) introduced us to DC Willis (a young detective with a troubled past) and her co-workers. The crime (a 13 year old cold case + a few additional murders) was solved and settled by the end, so there were no disgruntled serial killers stalking her into the next book. I liked it and had enough interest in the characters to read this next one (Cold as Ice).
In the second book the body of a young woman is pulled from under the top ice of a frozen canal. She has unusual wounds and the whole crime scene appears staged and controlled. We jump back into the lives of DC Willis and her ‘guv’ as they race against the clock (literally) to catch a serial killer (who is kidnapping and slowly torturing young single mothers).
It’s a plot driven thriller so I’m not going to give away the story, and it’s a fair read. The characters are believable and engaging, and the author uses their mini narratives and dialogue to move the story forward.
I was really getting into it (and it really did start out as a 4 star read) but by the 3/4 mark, was losing me as the story began complicating itself with exotic species of snakes and toxic spiders (also snakes don’t ‘pause to listen’) as well as extremely gruesome descriptions of violence. The violence and gore didn’t seem at all necessary, it just seemed to be added for the sake of it. Maybe to help ‘Cold As Ice‘ enter the ‘dark thriller genre’?
Also the author uses this weird ‘point of view’ of view technique where she chops and changes from one character to another in the flick of a sentence. One minute the story is narrating the actions of a cop, next sentence (without any real warning) you’re in the head of the killer. It’s a bit awkward at times because this crime series is touted as the ‘DC Ebony Willis’ books — but there is so much ‘narration’ from her offsider (the guv) DI Carter at times I wonder who the protagonist is actually supposed to be.
If I hadn’t already bought books 3 and 4, I probably wouldn’t continue reading this crime series.
Cold as Ice gets 3 stars from me.
PS: there are typos in this book and the proofreading/editing is inconsistent eg, ‘guv’ and ‘Guv’, but I was pleased Ebony’s nicknamed was changed from ‘Ebb’ (book 1) to ‘Eb’ in book 2.
Read my other reviews in the series here, but this review is about Book 2.
- Dead of Winter (book 1)
- Cold as Ice (book 2)
- Frozen Grave (book 3)
- Cold Justice (book 4)