By Sara J. Henry
(Crown Publishers, $24)
Reviewed by Rose McAllister Croke
Freelance writer Troy Chance is taking photos of the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival’s ice palace, which is being built of frozen blocks cut from the local lake. Suddenly, the ice-cutting machine abruptly stops, and a hushed silence falls over the working crew. Encased in the ice is the shadowy outline of a body — a local man known to the small group that is gathered.
Despite no evidence of foul play, the media descends on the Lake Placid, N.Y., town, and one of Troy’s housemates, who casually dated the victim, immediately becomes a prime suspect and the subject of small-town gossip. Troy is assigned by her editor to write an in-depth feature on Tobin Winslow and his mysterious death. Was it more than a tipsy late-night stroll across a lake, on ice too thin, in weather too brutally cold?
Soon, it is revealed that Tobin was the privileged son of a wealthy Connecticut family, who moved to this remote Adirondack village to escape a family tragedy that had haunted him for years. After Tobin’s sister arrives in town to learn more about her brother’s solitary life and a string of unsettling incidents occur, Troy doesn’t know whom to trust or believe.
Through her investigation, she ultimately uncovers a story that threatens to shatter the tranquility of the mountain town. She must decide which family secrets should be exposed, which truths should remain hidden, and how far her own loyalty and professional ambition can reach.
“A Cold and Lonely Place” provides a strong cast of female characters, each of whom has her own reasons and agenda for taking up residence in a small town during an unforgiving and unbearably cold winter. It’s not a typical whodunit, but there are enough twists and turns in the plot that you’ll want to curl up with a cup of tea or hot chocolate and lose yourself for a spell.