Sara J. Henry’s second novel, A Cold and Lonely Place, is an atmospheric novel which exposes the reader to the Adirondacks and surrounding areas. Henry uses her background in journalism to lend a credible verisimilitude to one reporter’s investigation into a life -and death- in her home town.
When journalist Troy Chance accepted the assignment to cover the annual carving of the Ice Palace out on Saranac Lake, she hardly expected that she would witness the discovery of a body frozen in the landscape. Even more surprising is that she knows the victim. It turns out that the body belongs to Tobin Winslow, the boyfriend of Jessamyn Field, who just happens to be one of Troy’s housemates.
Police at first believe Tobin likely walked out on the ice alone and fell through, but when they being to suspect that he was not alone that night, they have to wonder why no one tried to save him. Suspicion quickly falls on Jessamyn and when she becomes the prime suspect, Troy knows she must try to help clear her friend’s name.
When her editor at the newspaper asks Troy to do an in-depth piece on Tobin, this gives her license to investigate his life and possibly uncover his killer. Troy uses her journalistic skills to interview all manner of people involved in Tobin’s life. One of the most forthcoming seems to be Tobin’s sister, Win. When Win temporarily relocates to town, she seems more than anxious for Troy to uncover the true story of Tobin’s history. What happened to make him leave his posh life and move away to the Adirondacks, far from everyone important to him?
Sara J. Henry knows how to write characters that the reader cares about. Just moments after they are introduced, the reader feels like they know these people and they want to spend more time with them. One of the interesting themes of the book is how it is almost impossible to really “know” someone else. There is always a part of them that remains hidden. It is when that secret part affects the lives of others that the real trouble begins.
Readers of Henry’s debut novel, Learning To Swim, will be happy to hear that many of the much-loved characters from that book reappear here. There are scenes with Philippe, Paul, Simon and others. But there are also new characters that readers will hope to see in future novels.
For those readers in locations where winter means cold nights, endless snow and perpetual greyness, A Cold and Lonely Place will make the perfect companion to share the season with. It is impossible to read this book and not feel the weather deep in your bones. This is not to say that Henry makes the Adirondacks seem like a bad place to live, just the opposite in fact. The small-town feel of the place is very appealing – unless you are trying to remain anonymous.
Throughout the novel, Sara J. Henry shows various forms of guilt and how that emotion can weigh on a person’s mind to devastating effect. Join Troy Chance on this journey as she uncovers secrets and lies that have been long-buried in the hearts and minds of man.
Disclaimer: An e-galley of this title was provided to BOLO Books by the publisher. No review was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.