Saturday, April 16

Heart of Ice - a review

Heart of Ice by Lis Weihl and April Henry

Heart of Ice is the third book by Lis and April in their Triple Threat series.  The Triple Threat is a group of three woman, Allison (a federal prosecutor), Nicole (FBI agent), and Cassidy (crime news reporter) who are extremely close friends.  Previously I had read Face of Betrayal, which is the first book in the series, and which I did not care for.  However, I won a copy of Heart of Ice through an online giveaway, and decided to give it a chance (and yes, I realize I’m not the intended audience for this novel, though I hope you still find my review helpful).

Elizabeth Avery is a new exercise instructor with a dark past and dating an extremely rich man.  However, her lover is divorced, and his wife seems to constantly want more money.  So Elizabeth devises a way to silence her, with the help of a childhood friend who has a criminal record associated with arson.  Can Triple Threat catch Elizabeth before it’s too late?

I had mixed feelings on Heart of Ice.  I liked that even though I skipped the second book, I could jump right into this one.  Aside from perhaps a few bits of character development, I didn’t really miss anything.  The plot is self contained within this novel, and I didn’t get the sense of an overarching storyline.

The story was also a lot stronger as well, and the pacing kept the story moving briskly along (which was one of my complaints about the first novel).  The climax (another weak element of the first novel) was also satisfying, and one of the strongest parts of the story because I really wanted to know what happened next.

The rest of the book, wasn’t quite as exciting as the climax was.  We are introduced rather quickly to the ‘killer,’ or in this case, the person planning the murder.  This takes away some of the element of surprise and intrigue.  Most books of this genre seem to be driven by the desire to locate the killer, a desire held not only by the characters but by the readers.  To be introduced to the killer in the first few chapters was a surprise.  And I don’t think it was a good one.

There was also a large abundance of themes found in this story, though they were handled better than the first novel.  One of the themes was that of breast cancer.  It seems an extremely relevant theme, not only because the characters and women slowly approaching middle age, but also because the main audience for this story seems to be women of the same age.  It is a theme dealt with honestly, though sometimes the descriptions are a bit too detailed and clinical for my taste.

One of the subplots in this novel started out extremely interesting.  Nicole is investigating possible crimes committed by a young doctor.  It served as a good balance to the story with Elizabeth, since there were a lot more questions regarding the outcome of it.  However, half way through the novel it dropped out completely.  There didn’t seem to be any sort of solid resolution to it, and I never found out how in ended.  A small part of me thinks it will return in a fourth novel, but given that most of these stories seem rather self contained, I’m doubtful.

Some of the descriptions seem either unnecessary or long winded.  During one scene at the gym, one of the characters bemoans that her chin got ‘stuck’ in her cleavage while doing a particular exercise.  Really?  Did I need to know that?  It jarred me out of the story.  It added nothing to the story, and though I assume it was an attempt at character building, I didn’t think it helped at all.

Finally, some of the characters seemed flat.  Outside of the main three characters, the cast of this novel felt very shallow.  There were many times where we were told things about a character, but we weren’t shown very much.  Supporting characters often felt stale and I got the impression that they were merely props so that a more important character could rattle on about things pertaining to the plot.

Still, if you were a fan of the first two books, I think you’ll find plenty you’ll like about Heart of Ice.  And as I said earlier, the climax is truly one of the most thrilling parts of the book and actually had me at the edge of my seat while reading it, and which made me enjoy this book more that than the first.  And if you’re a first time reader interested, I’d still recommend the first book, merely to be introduced the characters, and then it probably won’t matter as much which book you read next.

3/5 stars

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