Everything changed for Nora Hamilton that January morning when she woke up alone. Brendan, her police officer husband, was not in the bed with her. The normal morning sounds he would have made were not present. No sounds of the shower, no smell of morning coffee, no nothing as the strange silence stretched on and on. She will soon discover the silence exists for a good reason-- the man who made love to her the night before has committed suicide.
Devastated and distraught, Nora just wants to know why he did it. The “why” of it threatens to destroy her and makes her question everything. What drove him to this act--so out of character with no warning at all--and left her alone in the frozen small town of Wedeskyull in upstate New York. A frozen old place---literally and metaphorically--- she moved to for Brendan and where she is very much an outsider. An outsider not to be trusted and who does not understand her place in the community as well as the fact that things are the way they are because they have always been that way and will always be that way. Nora’s quest to get answers to why Brendan killed himself will take time and come at great cost to nearly everyone.
Cover of Snow is the debut novel of Jenny Milchman. Like any good mystery, nothing is what it seems and everyone has secrets to hide. Deceit is an art form long practiced by all and such is the case here. Nora is surrounded by smiling and friendly enemies who expect her to go back where she belongs in the wake of her husband’s death. Her unwillingness to just quietly go away sets the stage for a steady increasing level of suspense as the reader turns the pages.
This is a powerfully good book where the setting is just as alive as the other characters. What legendary author James Lee Burke has done for Louisiana, author Jenny Milchman has done for upper New York in winter. The cold frozen landscape is always present lurking, waiting to kill throughout the suspenseful read. A living breathing force that is present on every single page where the characters are inside and warm for the moment or outside in the elements.
Much is at work here in this complicated read. This review does not give the book justice. You simply have to read it.
Cover of Snow
Ballantine Books (Random House)
Hardcover (also currently available as an e-book and audio book)
Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano Texas Public Library System.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2013