Every once in a while, I’ll encounter a book that has elements I normally avoid but, for one reason or another, it’s one I can’t put down. This is exactly how I felt about Ice. If you allow yourself to actually think in depth about what’s going on, it’s gruesome and traumatic. However, if you let the pages carry you away and suspend reality just enough, it’s easy to get caught up in the suspense.
Kaylie Fletcher never wanted to climb again. Ever. However, when her parents climbing party goes missing on Mount McKinley and she receives a mysterious call indicating that her mother is still alive, she has no choice but to pack her bags and head to Alaska. Expecting to meet her friend Sara at the airport, she’s unsettled to find a bush pilot, Cort McClaine, waiting to take her to Sara’s remote home to search for her parents and brother. As a reckless adrenalin junkie, he’s everything she fears and she nearly decides not to go with him until she receives a distressing call from her friend. Together, she and Cort find the brutalized bodies of her best friend and her husband and quickly discover that they are the next targets of a madman.
Cort lives a life of freedom that only flying and the wilderness can give him. When he meets Kaylie, she is all about elegance and city life and he thinks she’ll never survive in the wilds of Alaska. Yet when they experience the trauma of murder together, he knows she needs him to help her discover the truth about her family and the murders of both their friends. As the madman closes in, Cort realizes his need to protect Kaylie goes far deeper than that of just an extremely powerful attraction and reckless sex.
To get the absurd out of the way, I have to start with the heroine’s name – which I do like I might add. However, because I continuously pictured a pre-schooler with little blond pigtails when I read the name, I found myself repeatedly launched from the story. I simply can’t think of a single adult with this name. Secondly, the hero and heroine have an incredible attraction to one another that is believable. What isn’t believable is the uncontrollable desire to have sex at inopportune times like soon after discovering the mutilated bodies of their friends or immediately after their plane crashes and a murderer is on their trail. Finally, the story has a high body count, with a torturous murderer. Because it’s a romance and we know it will have a HEA, I don’t think I’m giving anything away by saying that the bad guy is caught in the end. However, the characters are stalked and live in terror, though very little attention is paid to the repercussions of this. In real life, this would take quite a bit of time to get over, if ever, but in romancelandia, it isn’t really an issue – which is an issue for me.
Though I do have some issues with the book, on a whole I have to admit I liked it. Rowe certainly knows how to keep the pace steady in this romantic suspense story, which kept me turning the pages and not wanting to put it down. The feeling of constantly being watched or stalked is pervasive throughout the story and made the suspense elements ring true. Also, I felt the characters were well drawn and stayed true to the conflicts they had within their own identities. Much like in real life, both characters faced trauma prior to meeting and while they made progress, neither worked things out completely before the end of the story.
Though I’m not a huge fan of romantic suspense, I enjoyed the pacing, well-developed characters, and suspense elements of Ice. If you’re looking for a quick, suspense-filled journey, I can recommend this one.