Sunday 9 July 2017

Review | Ice Lake by John A Lenahan

Published by Killer Reads on July 7, 2017

Ice Lake begins with a murder and from that moment on I was hooked on what was an atmospheric, suspenseful and incredibly engaging start to the Harry Cull series. I love starting a new crime thriller series. There’s so much excitement and anticipation behind it, wondering if the author has created a character who’s going to turn this new series into a must-read. It is following the main guy and watching them develop that really appeals to me and often even if I enjoy the crime, if I don’t take to or find myself fascinated by the lead character, I very rarely read the second book. Ice Lake, however, had it all. This was a gripping and intriguing crime thriller and Harry was a character I absolutely loved.

Ice Lake is a slowburner of a book. The tension builds up gradually and despite the prologue that introduces us to the story with a bang, the development of the book is done at a subtle pace but one that helped the plot really get under my skin. North-eastern Pennsylvania is a place full to the brim of secrets and lies. I did not trust a soul in this book and that kept me on my toes always trying to work out the truth and what really possessed someone to kill likeable Big Bill at the beginning of the book, and find out what led someone to then committing a second murder later on. The atmosphere in Pennsylvania was built up beautifully and had me really fascinated. There was lots of character to the place, something which the author wrote so well.

In a place where telling a lie comes much more easily than telling the truth, human lie-detector Harry Cull is the man to have on side. I loved Harry. I thought he was a brilliant character and I really can’t wait to read more from him in this series. There’s something about him that is so endearing. He is funny and clever and his backstory had me utterly fascinated. Harry used to be a cop but now he is a psychologist. His past is deeply upsetting and it still has full impact on his life now. There is so much depth to Harry’s character which makes me believe this series can offer so much. There’s plenty about Harry that suggests his character can be developed much further and I am really excited to see what’s to come.

Harry’s friendship with Cirba is another part to this novel I really enjoyed reading. Their interactions were the highlight of the book for me. What with Harry’s great ability for knowing if someone is lying, he is fascinating enough on his own, but his friendship with Cirba made me like his character even more. The humour and the banter between the two of them provides plenty of light-relief in what is a hard-hitting novel.

Ice Lake is a very impressive crime thriller. The author has evidently done his research before writing parts of this book as it delivers great insight into dark themes such as fracking and drug abuse as well as the ever-interesting lie-detection aspect. The style the author writes in is also something I particularly enjoyed. I loved the little facts about Ice Lake and its environmental issues that we’d get at the beginning of some of the chapters. It was a great way of building up the location and atmosphere without info-dumping throughout. It was a little thing, but it felt fresh and different. I also loved the way the dark themes of the book were contrasted with black humour which prevented this book from being downbeat. It was dark and twisted, but also highly entertaining. Ice Lake is a great start to the series and I for one can’t wait for more.

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