21 January 2021.
ISBN: 978-1-4722-7024-5 (HB)
Good mystery novels keep you guessing, and on the edge of your seat until the big reveal. They also feature characters whose fate you start to care about, and a well-realized setting you can almost experience along with them.
Really good mystery novels do
all of the above and introduce you to a world you’ve never explored before. And
by that definition, Shiver is a really good mystery novel. Which, for a
debut author, is an achievement worth bragging about. What Allie Reynolds
doesn’t know about the snowboarding world would probably struggle to fill the
back of a stamp, and now I know a little more about it too. I even knew the
answer to a question about it on a TV quiz show I was watching!
The set-up is a familiar one: five people trapped in a remote building with a murderer on the loose – and it could be one of them. The five are all former snowboarding contenders, and they each received an invitation to a reunion at a venue where tragedy struck ten years ago during a major competitive event, leaving Odette, a world-class snowboarder, quadriplegic.
Curtis’s sister Saskia also
disappeared without trace at the same event, and Curtis is still in search of
answers. Saskia has recently been declared officially dead, and the bodies of
people who meet a sticky end on the winter sports slopes often emerge as
glaciers shift and melt. Dale and Heather got together during the fateful event
and are now married and running a business. Brent was once a successful model
and a top snowboarder. And then there’s Milla, who narrates the whole story,
both then and now.
The first mystery is who
arranged the reunion. Curtis, Dale, Heather and Brent think it’s Milla; she
knows it isn’t and thinks it’s Curtis. At first, it’s unimportant – but then
their phones and laptops go missing, the lifts to the village aren’t working,
and it becomes plain not only that they are trapped on the mountain but also
that someone is out to cause conflict.
The action switches between
now and then, and in the now chapters the tension grows as suspicion falls on
one of them after another. What (or who) caused Odette’s accident? What really
happened to Saskia? And who is responsible for the strange things that keep
happening – power outages, threatening messages scrawled on mirrors, a lock of
hair under a pillow...?
All this and an in-depth view
of the snowboarding world too. Shiver ticks all the boxes of a really
good mystery novel – and it made me shiver in more ways than one.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick
Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen, and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher for a few years and is proud to have launched several careers which are now burgeoning. She lives in Oxfordshire in a house groaning with books, about half of them crime fiction.