British-born author Allie Reynolds used her knowledge of being a pro-snowboarder for her locked-room (ski resort) mystery. This book is an homage to the snow (of course!), competitiveness, the dangers of Mother Nature and old crushes.
When Milla accepts an off-season invitation to Le Rocher, one of France’s most exclusive ski resorts, she’s expecting an intimate weekend of catching up with four old friends. It might have been a decade since she saw them last, but she’s never forgotten the bond they forged on this very mountain during a winter spent fiercely training for an elite snowboarding competition.
Yet the moment Milla and the others arrive for the reunion, they can tell something is wrong. The resort is deserted. The cable cars that delivered them to the mountaintop have stopped working. Their cell phones: missing. And inside their ski lodge, an icebreaker game awaits, designed to draw out their secrets. A game meant to remind them of Saskia, the enigmatic sixth member of their group who vanished the morning of the competition years before and has long been presumed dead.
Stranded in the lodge, with a looming snowstorm making escape even more impossible, Milla realizes there’s no one on the mountain she can trust. Because someone will stop at nothing to find out the truth about Saskia. And if Milla’s not careful, she could be the next to disappear.
I’ve only been skiing once and it was a disaster, to say the least. However, I’m drawn to stories with snow, the coldness and being stranded with people you know (and despise). For a locked-room mystery, this setting is unique. Combine that with the whole snowboarding aspect, which I admittedly know nothing about, it makes for a different type of whodunit.
Allie uses snowboarding jargon in describing all of the dangerous twists, turns and leaps the characters endured during their competitive years. She also details the longing and want Milla has driving her to keep trying to beat Saskia … even when she shouldn’t.
We learn about her relationship with Saskia, who is the ultimate Frenemy. Yet, Milla is no innocent bystander. She fights back just as hard as Saskia gives.
The side love-interest story was another locked-room mystery trope we don’t see often. Milla’s crush of years ago is standing right in front of her again and this time, too much is on the line for her to walk away without investigating what’s there between her and … Ahhhh, I can’t tell you which guy he is! You have to read it for yourself.
Although it’s now warm April showers for a lot of us, grab yourself a cup of coffee or hot chocolate and settle in on a Friday night with a warm blanket and SHIVER.
I rate SHIVER four out of five stars.