Every secret has consequences.
In Bampton, Derbyshire, Lena Fisher is arrested for suffocating her husband, Andrew.
A year after Lena’s release from prison, Andrew is found dead in a disused mortuary.
Who was the man Lena killed twelve years ago, and who committed the second murder? When Lena disappears, her sister, Kat, sets out to follow a trail of clues delivered by a mysterious teenage boy. Kat must uncover the truth – before there’s another death . . .
Sometimes a book pulls you in from the start with an idea that makes you stop, take a moment and then think “well, I have to see how this is going to end up.”. A Deadly Thaw is one of those books. It’s different from the start, with a dead body turning up and looking fairly fresh despite the victim (Andrew) having being dead for 12 years and his wife (Lena) having just being released from prison for his murder. All nice and confusing, promising for lots of knots to unpick as you watch the police and Lena’s sister, Kat, try to figure out just what is going on.
Lena doesn’t help herself from the start. First the police come to ask her questions, which she basically refuses to answer, and then she disappears. It looks like she went of her own free will, is probably still alive, but it’s really not clear – and neither, it seems is anything about her past or how she could (seemingly) have mistaken a stranger for her husband, especially as he was found in her bed, suffocated. I have to say, as a reader, I loved trying to figure out what was going on – coming up with quite a few solutions, none of which were right in the end.
As far as the plot went, then, this was a brilliant book for me and, for the most part, the same can be said of the characters. I really liked the detectives involved in the case, watching how they interacted with each other and wondering whether the rivalry of the two junior detectives or their seeming liking for each other would win out. They did make a few leaps in logic I wasn’t sure of but, with this type of story, sometimes you have to suspend belief and I was enjoying myself enough to do just that.
Where I struggled a bit was with Kat, the sister, who I really didn’t like too much. There wasn’t anything wrong with her as such – if anything, Lena was the difficult one, the one I should have disliked – but I just found her a bit dim. There was a trail of clues being laid out before her and she seemed unable to make any links (unlike the police who made plenty) between them, her past and what Lena did. I wanted to shake her at times and say “come on, think a little”.
Was it the end of the world? Absolutely not, it didn’t stop me reading the book or turning the pages (I finished it in just a day…well, just over as I stayed up late to finish it). It wouldn’t stop me recommending it either. This is a cracking read, with a strong story line, plenty of red herrings, a great small town setting – where everyone knows your secrets and aren’t always afraid to tell them – and a great twist in the tale. I liked it a lot if you couldn’t tell and, whilst this was my first Sarah Ward, will definitely be reading more in the future.
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publication Date: 2nd February, 2017 (originally published 30th August, 2016)
Format: ebook (Kindle)
Genre: crime fiction
Note: I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in return for a fair and honest review. All thoughts, feelings and opinions are my own.