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Friday, 5 July 2013

‘Heart of Ice’ By P.J. Parrish

Published by Pocket Books, 
February 26, 2013. 
ISBN: 978-1-439-18937-5

From the opening pages of this newest novel from the writing team of sisters Kristy Montee and Kelly Nichols which comprises P.J Parrish, on New Year’s Eve in 1969, the reader will be held spellbound.  The tale swiftly morphs to late October, 1990, and a very cold case of a missing young woman which becomes a very active case when Louis Kincaid and his daughter, 10-year-old Lily, literally stumble upon a pile of old bones in an abandoned hunting lodge.  A conclusion is quickly reached that the bones are those of the missing girl.  

Louis has been enjoying some quality time with the daughter he did not know existed until a few months ago, but the former cop [now private detective] is drawn into the investigation, working with Chief Flowers of the local Mackinac Island, Michigan police and State Investigator Norm Rafsky, the latter a somewhat ambivalent working relationship due to the professional past he shares with Louis’ lover, Sheriff “Joe’ Frye. .Joe, whose long-distance relationship with Louis appears to be at a turning point, tells him: “You never could resist a cold case or a lost cause.”  The author’s prose brings the area to life:  “The magic island just off the tip of the Michigan mitten . . . the eight-mile road that circled the island, . . . the ramparts of an old fort, ancient limestone formations, and steep hiking paths that led up into the dark pines.  And always, there on their right, was the deep blue expanse of Lake Huron.”

Lily, naturally disturbed by the existence of the bones, extracts a promise from Louis:  “It’s up to us to make sure she gets home okay.”  A promise not easily kept.  They must first identify the victim, a process made more difficult by the fact that the skull is missing.  The craftily written plot provides various scenarios, each entirely plausible, as to the events behind their presence, each entirely plausible, with no clear indication as to the identity of the killer.  More than that cannot be said without spoilers.  But it must be said that the ingenious conclusion is an unexpected one, and the book is highly recommended.
Reviewer: Gloria Feit

P.J. Parrish is actually two sisters, Kristy Montee and Kelly Nichols. Their books have appeared on both the New York Times and USA Today best seller lists. The series has garnered 11 major crime-fiction awards, and an Edgar® nomination. Parrish has won two Shamus awards, one Anthony and one International Thriller competition. Her books have been published throughout Europe and Asia.  Before turning to writing full time, Kristy Montee was a newspaper editor and dance critic for the Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale. Nichols previously was a blackjack dealer and then a human resources specialist in the casino industry. Montee lives in Fort Lauderdale and Nichols resides in Houghton Lake, Michigan. The sisters were writers as kids, albeit with different styles: Kelly's first attempt at fiction at age 11 was titled The Kill. Kristy's at 13 was The Cat Who Understood. Not much has changed: Kelly now tends to handle the gory stuff and Kristy the character development. But the collaboration is a smooth one, thanks to lots of ego suppression, good wine, and marathon phone calls via Skype.
The first ten books in the series, in order, are: Dark of the Moon, Dead of Winter, Paint it Black, Thicker than Water, Island of Bones, A Killing Rain, An Unquiet Grave, A Thousand Bones, South of Hell and The Little Death.

Ted and Gloria Feit live in Long Beach, NY, a few miles outside New York City.  For 26 years, Gloria was the manager of a medium-sized litigation firm in lower Manhattan. Her husband, Ted, is an attorney and former stock analyst, publicist and writer/editor for, over the years, several daily, weekly and monthly publications.  Having always been avid mystery readers, and since they're now retired, they're able to indulge that passion.  Their reviews appear online as well as in three print publications in the UK and US.  On a more personal note: both having been widowed, Gloria and Ted have five children and nine grandchildren between them.

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