Monday, February 06, 2017

Review: The Ice Beneath Her by Camilla Grebe

Title: The Ice Beneath Her
Author: Camilla Grebe
Narrator: Katharine McEwan, John Lee, Justine Eyre
Published: December 2016, Random House Audio / Ballantine Books
Length: 12 hours 28 minutes / 368 pages
Source: Personal copy via Audible / Netgalley

Acclaimed Swedish author Camilla Grebe makes her solo American debut with a psychological thriller as cunning in its twists as it is captivating in its storytelling—for fans of the celebrated crime fiction of Camilla Läckberg, Jo Nesbø, Ruth Ware, and Fiona Barton.

Winter’s chill has descended on Stockholm as police arrive at the scene of a shocking murder. An unidentified woman lies beheaded in a posh suburban home—a brutal crime made all the more disturbing by its uncanny resemblance to an unsolved killing ten years earlier. But this time there’s a suspect: the charismatic and controversial chain-store CEO Jesper Orre, who owns the home but is nowhere to be found.

To homicide detectives Peter Lindgren and Manfred Olsson, nothing about the suave, high-profile businessman—including a playboy reputation and rumors of financial misdeeds—suggests he conceals the dark heart and twisted mind of a cold-blooded killer. In search of a motive, Lindgren and Olsson turn to the brilliant criminal profiler Hanne Lagerlind-Schön. Once a valued police asset, now marooned in unhappy retirement and a crumbling marriage, she’s eager to exercise her keen skills again—and offer the detectives a window into the secret soul of Jesper Orre.

But they’re not the only ones searching. Two months before, Emma Bohman, a young clerk at Orre’s company, chanced to meet the charming chief executive, and romance swiftly bloomed. Almost as quickly as the passionate affair ignited, it was over when Orre inexplicably disappeared. One staggering misfortune after another followed, leaving Emma certain that her runaway lover was to blame and transforming her confusion and heartbreak into anger.

Now, pursuing the same mysterious man for different reasons, Emma and the police are destined to cross paths in a chilling dance of obsession, vengeance, madness, and love gone hellishly wrong.

My thoughts: I feel like I have been very fortunate with all the thrillers I have been picking up lately - and this one was no exception!!! Once again, Abby from Crime by the Book alerted me to this one and as soon as I heard about it, I couldn't wait to pick it up!

Having this book told from three perspectives is what, in my opinion, really makes this book stand out. Two of the perspectives - that of Peter, the police office, and Hanne, a profiler who sometimes consults with the police - are told in the present; while Emma's is told starting three months prior to the murder. This is such a clever way to tell this story and just hooked me right from the start - once I got used to the time change. 

I also loved being able to get inside the different characters heads - I'm always a big fan of that - but in this case, it just seemed to add more to the story. It added more depth to each of the characters and it added more suspense. You know a woman was murdered, but it's not clear who and you are left wondering just who she is and what her relationship is to the narrators. Are they as reliable as you hope and want them to be?

This book is gripping and captivating, pulling you in and taking you for quite a ride.  The characters are all deeply flawed, with their own struggles and burdens; there's questions that come up with each twist and you want so desperately to know what is going on. The plot is complex and the mystery will keep you guessing until the end. 

This is Camilla Grebe's first solo debut - prior to this, she's written books with her sister, Asa Traff. I don't know if this is book is intended to be a stand-alone or the start of a series, but either way, it's a great start to a solo writing career and I for one will certainly be eager to see what comes next from her!

Audio thoughts: I really enjoyed this audio book production and thought it was really well done! Having three narrators was just perfect for this book and each one did a fantastic job with their sections. Each one brought their own unique voice to their section and their pacing and tones were spot on. 


1 comment

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