“The Ice Maiden” review

I don’t have a picture of this book, since I read it on kindle. Find out more about this book here.

Recently I read The Ice Maiden by B. D. Smith. It was an interesting book, especially since I don’t typically read murder mysteries, and I liked it okay.

I give it a 3.9 out of 5 stars. Mostly for plot.

Summary

Detective Doug Bateman partners with newly arrived Anne Quinn to solve a homicide in central Maine. As they research the murder of the young woman, it becomes clear that the killer is playing an elaborate, deadly game with them. The killer continues to abduct, torture, and murder young women as Doug and Anne struggle to catch him, showing off his superior intellect; as they investigate, it slowly becomes clear that there might be a deeper purpose behind the homicides.

Plot & Characters

Let’s discuss plot first, because I liked it. Good plots are

  • Compelling,
  • Have twists I don’t expect, and
  • Are logical with little to no loopholes.

This book fit these all of points for me, which was a pleasant surprise. Usually I can predict the ending, or at least part of the ending, since most stories follow similar paths, and while I did predict some of it, there were a few plot twists I didn’t see coming. I always enjoy being surprised.

Characters have similar traits to plots. Good characters are

  • Also compelling, and
  • Are smart – they don’t make stupid mistakes.

The characters in this book were generally compelling and didn’t really make stupid mistakes. Their justifications for their actions felt fairly sound to me, and I liked them a fair amount. But really, I was reading the book to find out who the killer was, not because I was in love with the characters.

Writing Style

This is the part I have trouble with.

Plot makes up the bulk of the points I gave to this book. The writing style bothered me from start to finish, especially the dialogue. I don’t have a better descriptor for the dialogue other than stiff. It served its purpose, but it didn’t feel quite natural and it didn’t flow quite right.

The rest of the writing was okay. It wasn’t fantastic, but it wasn’t awful; in places it felt choppy. I do tend to nitpick about writing style, I know, but I really can’t stand writing that feels choppy. It has to flow.

Despite this, voice was clear and consistent. And so was the writing.

Things to take away

In retrospect, this was a decent book. But here’s what I come away from this book thinking:

  1. Plot is important. When I’m deciding if I like a book or not, and the writing is okay, plot and characters become the deciding factor. For this book, the plot was the best part. Especially the unexpected twists.
  2. Fluency. Writing should flow (another way to say this: sentence length should vary). The best and easiest way to check if your writing flows is to read it out loud or have someone else read it out loud. You’ll hear if it sounds choppy.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this book (or recommendations for other books). Happy reading!

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