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by Sara J Henry
Crown, February 2013
304 pages
ISBN: 0307718417

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Following her very successful debut, LEARNING TO SWIM, author Sara Henry returns with A COLD AND LONELY PLACE, a beautifully written book that seemingly unfolds slowly but which pulls the reader in so deeply that it becomes a read-late-into-the-night book.

The book opens with freelance journalist Troy Chance covering the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival ice palace. Blocks of ice are being cut out of the lake to build the annual wintry palace when a body is discovered in the ice. And it is someone Troy knows -- Tobin Winslow, the boyfriend of one of her roommates, Jessamyn Field. Everyone, including Jessamyn, had assumed that Tobin had packed up months ago and left town, leaving his girlfriend behind.

Troy is asked to write a story about Tobin for the local newspaper. But the more she delves, the more it is apparent that Tobin, who came from a wealthy Connecticut family, was hiding something from his past. There's also mystery surrounding Jessamyn, who hasn't even told Troy where in the Midwest she is from. When Troy investigates her, she finds a troubling past. Is it possible that Jessamyn had something to do with Tobin's death?

There's a very well-plotted mystery here, but the book excels in the descriptions of these snow-laced Adirondack mountain towns and the very believable characters. This is a novel that rings with authenticity, and we feel each of Troy's successes, and her heartbreaks, along with her.

Henry won the Agatha and Mary Higgins Clark awards for her first novel. This second one is just as strong and just as compelling.

Lourdes Venard is a newspaper editor in Long Island, N.Y.

Reviewed by Lourdes Venard, February 2013

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