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by P.J. Parrish
Pocket Books, March 2013
422 pages
ISBN: 1439189374

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It's the very tail end of tourist season on Mackinac Island and Louis Kincaid is taking his newly discovered daughter Lily to see one of the good places from his childhood. For Michiganders, Mackinac Island is a special place. In a state tied so firmly to the auto industry, Mackinac is unusual in that there are virtually no cars on the island. None. Walk, ride a bike, or a horse - those are your choices. It's totally a tourist place; locals refer to tourists as trolls (from under the bridge) or fudgies (for the wonderful fudge made on the island that just about all tourists buy). Yet the Grand Hotel will not allow just anyone to take tea on their terrace; one must be properly attired and have enough money to discourage most people. It's a beautiful island, in spite of all the little shops.

As Louis and Lily explore the trails, she takes off ahead of him and winds up going where people are not supposed to go. There is an old cabin, and she goes in to explore. As she tries to get back out to Louis, the floor collapses and she falls through. She breaks her arm (Louis knows just how well THAT is going to go over with Lily's mother), and, even worse in the long term, she lands on a pile of human bones. Not a good thing, no matter how Louis looks at it.

The local law enforcement is way out of his depth, and calls in the State boys. Their representative knows Louis, and they don't always see eye to eye. The bones are presumed to belong to Julie Chapman, a teenager who disappeared in the dead of winter twenty years ago.

As Louis works with Jack Flowers (the local law) and Rafsky (the State law) to solve the case, he spends a lot of time running interference between them.

After some basic investigation, there appears to be an obvious suspect. A man on the island collects skulls, mostly to sell to other collectors, and all of them animals of some kind. Except for his hidden collection. The one thing missing from the skeleton Lily found is the skull. This is making the official ID a little harder, but just about everyone is convinced it is Julie Chapman. Rafsky doesn't want to base his case or his investigation on an assumption, no matter how obvious it may seem.

HEART OF ICE is the newest entry in the Louis Kincaid series. It is one of the best. There are enough twists and turns for the most demanding of readers. As in the rest of the series, Louis learns something about himself and what's important to him as the case progresses. Parrish writes about the Island with the loving tenderness of a long-time Michigander, not wanting to besmirch it because of what happened on it. This book is some very nice writing indeed.

P.J. Coldren lives in northern lower Michigan where she reads and reviews widely across the mystery genre when she isn't working in her local hospital pharmacy.

Reviewed by P.J. Coldren, May 2013

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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