The following review of Sara J. Henry’s A Cold and Lonely Place is published in conjunction with the author’s reading and book signing next Thursday, August 1 at 7PM at the Belden Noble Memorial Library in Essex, NY. Would you like to win a free copy of A Cold and Lonely Place or Henry’s first novel, Learning to Swim? Instructions follow the review.
A Cold And Lonely Place, by Sara J. Henry
Troy Chance isn’t your typical hard-boiled gumshoe. Nor is she a jet setting sleuth with exotic accent, runway swagger and a cosmo wardrobe. She’s a small-town reporter for a local newspaper in Lake Placid, NY who rents rooms in her house to make ends meet.
Freelance writer Troy Chance is photographing ice cutters on New York’s Saranac Lake as they prepare the ice palace that will grace the annual Winter Carnival near Lake Placid. But the work stops when the body of a man is found just below the surface. And Troy knows the man well — he is Tobin Winslow, the on-again, off-again boyfriend of her roommate, Jessamyn Field. (Omaha.com)
A Cold and Lonely Place, Sara J. Henry‘s sequel to Learning to Swim, is a quick paced, character-driven thriller centered around three compelling if unlikely female characters. While the handsome, hard-drinking stiff sets the mystery in motion, it’s Troy, Jessamyn and Jessica “Win” Winslow (Tobin’s sister) who fuel the plot and captivate the reader.
Win is probably the most incongruous collaborator. Urbane, affluent and obviously out of place in the Adirondacks – especially in the dead of winter – she immediately proves her mettle. She’s no prissy Greenwich socialite in town to tidy up her brother’s unceremonious demise in Lake Flower. Her motives and benevolence prove almost as complex as the causes for Tobin’s drowning.
Jessamyn also conceals a mysterious past beneath her tough, aloof façade. Like Tobin, the one enduring romantic relationship (or even platonic, for that matter) that she appears to have managed, she is a wandering twenty something, ready to move on whenever circumstances become complicated. And yet the disappearance-then-death of her on again, off again boyfriend catalyzes unanticipated, transformative relationships rather than pushing her away.
Troy’s increasingly obsessive investigation of Tobin’s life (and death) for a series of stories that could potentially fast track her writing career expose a string of long-hidden secrets, each more sordid than the last. But what would you expect from a novel that opens with a cryogenically preserved pretty boy almost adorning the ice palace at the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival?
There’s a fresh twist to Troy’s “romantic” life that will be familiar to readers of Henry’s first novel, Learning to Swim, and the conclusion of the novel wraps up most of the loose ends in a manner that I completely failed to anticipate. Both of these narrative paths will suck readers in and keep them guessing.
An Adirondack Storyteller’s Thriller
But for me personally, two of the most intriguing lures in this High Peaks mystery were the locale and the writing/storytelling theme. The narrative is rife with familiar references to favorite Lake Placid area restaurants and bars, and even the old Westport animal shelter. The familiar atmosphere is surprisingly captivating!
And because Troy is a writer researching a story for the sake of narrating it accurately, convincingly and compellingly, I was immediately smitten. At its core, Sara J. Henry’s A Cold and Lonely Place is a storyteller’s thriller. And, as it turns out, some of the material she used to invent Troy Chance just might have been borrowed from her own life.
Like my main character, Troy Chance, I lived in Lake Placid, New York, in a house with a lot of roommates, and worked as sports editor at The Adirondack Daily Enterprise in nearby Saranac Lake, and freelanced for magazines. And had a dog named Tiger. (Sara in Vermont)
Whether or not Henry has woven parts of her own tale into A Cold and Lonely Place, you won’t be able to put it down. And local readers will find themselves paying a little more attention to places and people than they normally would when trying to unravel a fictional mystery.
Learn more about the author on her website www.sarajhenry.com.
Win a Free Copy of A Cold And Lonely Place
If you want to meet Sara J. Henry, then you’re in luck because she will be in Essex soon! At the Belden Noble Memorial Library she will be present for a Talk and Book Signing on Thursday, August, 1, at 7PM.
Do you want to win a free copy of A Cold and Lonely Place? It’s simple! Come to Sara J. Henry’s appearance at the Essex Library and be one of the first two people to tell us that you’ve read this review or our earlier review of Learning to Swim!
- Belden Noble Memorial Library News & Events (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Cultural Assistance Program (CAP) Grants Announced (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- DaCy Dinner with Chef Kevin McCarthy (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Artist Randy Boutilier (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Sharp Swan Lectures on Civil War at Musuem (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)