Once, her heart was empty. Now it’s filled with ice…
Ellen’s therapist told her to forget the past, but the life she’s left with is boring. All she wants is to be happy and normal, but the approaching long bleak nights of winter loom heavy before her, especially as she’ll be alone.
But when the secrets her mother put in place to protect her are exposed, Ellen learns the frightening truth. Her history is darker than she imagined. She’s not who she thinks she is, and the real her is a very different person to the one that others have mistreated and exploited.
If there’s hope of a future, Ellen must find answers about the past, and the new Ellen is less forgiving. This winter, there will be more than just discontent, and DI Barton will struggle in his hardest case to date.
How can he find the truth when all the victims and witnesses are dead?
I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
The last book in the DI Barton trilogy but hopefully there will be more as it has refreshing originality. This story follows the dual person point of view of the previous books. There’s a unique insight into the killer’s past that leads to the current killing spree. The third-person perspective charts the police investigation that follows in the killer’s wake.
It’s difficult not to empathise with the antagonist who carries out some personally motivated vigilante killings. This is noir-crime that reveals the underbelly of society and its failings. DI Barton acts up to DCI after surviving a deadly attack in a previous case. The team dynamics are believable, and the personal aspects of the detectives’ lives add authenticity and balance to the crimes they investigate.
The plot is realistically paced and keeps its secrets until the end. This is a poignant crime story with a relatable investigation team.
Extract from The Ice Killer – Ross Greenwood
That was my card. Even then, I knew not to aim high. I was a five-out-of-ten, maybe a six if I tamed my black hair, and I was bright enough to know that Danny Stanton wouldn’t have been able to pick me out in a line-up of llamas. At that moment, my expression resembled one.
Carl Quantrill was the mysterious guy at school with slightly too long greasy hair, which covered his eyes. He only responded to his surname as he thought it was cooler than Carl. A suggestion of body odour added to his allure. He drawled and mumbled. I’d had a few conversations with him but often failed to catch what he’d said. I’d be too nervous to ask for clarification and so would smile instead. He would be my first, but that was many years later.
I was crazy about him. I’d worn away Damon Albarn’s face on my Blur poster with kissing practice. As Carl opened the card that day, flames threatened to burst from my cheeks. All I’d written was, ‘To my Valentine’. He couldn’t have known I sent it, yet he immediately turned around and stared my way. He ripped the card to pieces and threw it in the air. The girls gasped, most of them, anyway, while the boys cheered.
Miss Diamond’s mouth opened and closed. She should have stopped there and then but something made her plough on; each new name another dagger driven into my unloved heart.
‘Sally Dawning.’ My best friend, sitting next to me.
And so on, with escalating cheers and boos echoing around the room. But the last letter was for me. ‘Ellen Toole.’
I couldn’t believe my good fortune, even though it was the smallest one by far. I turned to Sally, whose pudgy fingers were pressing her card to the desk as if it might float away. She smiled at me with genuine happiness. I suspected mine was from Sally, because I’d secretly sent hers. The room stilled while I opened my flimsy envelope with trembling fingers. The card had a single white rose on the cover, and I looked inside.
There was only one word in capitals. UGLY.
Ross Greenwood is the bestselling author of eight crime thrillers. Before becoming a full-time writer he was most recently a prison oﬃcer and so worked everyday with murderers, rapists and thieves for four years. He lives in Peterborough.