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Thursday, August 06, 2020

Ho-Hum Series Starter Means I Won't Be Reaching For a Sequel

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Beth Rivers has made a career out of crafting chilling plots for her bestselling thriller novels, but when she has her own brush with a madman, it leaves her frightened and unmoored.  For her own safety, Beth changes her name and relocates to tiny, remote Benedict, Alaska.  A strange twist of fate has her living with criminals in a halfway house there while she tries to make sense of life in The Last Frontier. 

When Beth is offered the opportunity to revive the town's fledgling newspaper, she jumps at the chance.  Not only will the job give her something to do with her time, but it will also allow her the opportunity to investigate the recent murder of a local woman.  In doing so, she finds herself growing closer to handsome Donner Montgomery, a park ranger who has been deputized to help Benedict's police chief.  Can she trust him with the secrets of her past?  How about with her heart?  As Beth comes closer to finding the killer, it's also her life that is—once again—on the line.

I love stories set against the wild backdrop of Alaska, so I was excited to give Thin Ice by Paige Shelton a go.  This series opener does indeed feature an intriguing setting, which happens to be my favorite thing about it.  Character-wise, the novel leaves a lot to be desired.  I was hoping for a quirky, small-town cast to give Benedict some life, but most of the story people are very ordinary folks.  Beth herself is a sympathetic character, but not an overly likable one.  She doesn't have a whole lot of personality to make her interesting.  Unfortunately, Donner doesn't either, which means I didn't feel any real chemistry between them.  The plot of Thin Ice isn't any more original.  Although the tale was intriguing enough to keep me reading, the plot seems far-fetched (Would people in a buttoned-up little town like Benedict truly reveal all their deepest, darkest secrets to a stranger like Beth?), the killer's identity is pretty obvious, and none of the plot twists really surprised me.  Bummer.  In short, I wanted to like this book a lot more than I did.  With a series starter as ho-hum as this one, I won't be reaching for its sequel.  

(Readalikes:  Hm, nothing's coming to mind.  You?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language (a dozen or so F-bombs, plus milder expletives), violence, and blood/gore

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of Thin Ice from the generous folks at St. Martin's Press in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!


  1. Ah, well, we can't love them all. This author writes other books that are quite a bit different than this one, though I haven't read any of them up to now. Mostly cozies as I recall. Anyway, I'll probably try this one anyway - wonder if I already own it? LOL

    1. I haven't read anything else by this author, but I have seen her cozies around. Maybe I'll have to try those. I wouldn't be surprised if I already owned one or two as well :) #booknerdproblems

  2. A shame, but thanks for sharing your thoughts

    1. Yeah, I wanted to like this one a lot more than I actually did. Bummer.

  3. Oh sorry this debut wasn't better. I had a similar experience last month with a first in a series: Murder on Cape Cod; Maddie Day. It ended up being a DNF for me.

    1. It's always a bummer when a book you're looking forward to doesn't thrill you!

  4. If anyone every wonders what you feel about any of the books you review, all they have to do is read the post title. You have a knack for saying a whole lot about a book in just the few words in your title. I love it...

    1. Ha ha. Sometimes you just have to cut to the chase, right?

  5. Aww that's a bummer. I've seen this one around a few times so I was curious!

    1. Honestly, I would have read this one just for the cover! I love Alaska settings, but the rest of the book was disappointing for me, unfortunately.

  6. So sorry this wasn't a better read for you Susan. I love your review and how you give the pluses and the things you didn't like. I have read other books by this author and it is the quirky characters that I like, so this sounds like a departure for her.

    1. I always try to give balanced reviews because it's rare that there's NOTHING I like about a book or NOTHING I dislike. Usually, there's a little of both. I'm just happy when the likes outweigh the dislikes!

  7. You really didn't like this one? I thought it was great and can't wait for the next one. Oh, well. Guess we can't always agree. ;D

    1. I didn't hate this book, but I can't say I really liked it either. I'm glad you did, though! And, you're right, we can't ALWAYS agree :)

  8. Well, that's a bummer. Love the cover, though.

  9. I've quite enjoyed books set in Alaska as it seems there is always an interesting setting and nature can cause havoc. Too bad this one didn't pan out.


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