Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Cover of Snow - Jenny Milchman

Cover of Snow is Jenny Milchman's debut novel.

Nora Hamilton followed her husband back to the small New York town he grew up in so he could follow in his father's footsteps - serving on the local police force. She's found work as a house restorer and believes they are blissfully happy. Until she wakes up one morning and finds that Brendan has killed himself. Why? What could have driven him to such an act? Nora is determined to find out. But his police force family seem just as determined to 'let things be'. And as Nora digs into the past, the resistance grows.

Milchman has all the right elements in place for a good mystery and her opening premise was great. You can feel the 'but' coming can't you? But, somehow, Cover of Snow just felt wooden, awkward and unbelievable to me.

The narrative often  jumps from one scene to another, leaving me flipping backwards to see if I missed a page. (I hadn't) I never really felt that the characters were real. Although we should feel for Nora after her loss, I didn't. She finds herself in one dangerous situation after another, but I didn't feel the tension or danger I wanted to. The rest of the cast of characters are somewhat clich├ęd - the omnipotent police chief, the brutal cops, the nosy reporter with a history, the nasty mother in law, the autistic mechanic who speaks in rhyme. A clue or needed information is usually conveniently and clumsily offered up just when needed.  Nora's beautiful, happy sister Teggie seems to have been included as a platform for Nora's emotional baggage to be discussed. "You sound just like Dad" Other than that, she really didn't serve a purpose in the story. The reason behind the name Teggie was an odd aside. And the cop named Lurcquer was a bit much as well - all I could think of every time was lurker - and yes he lurks and pops up when needed.

I found it hard to believe that after twenty five years of a police force's tyranny, one plucky house restorer brings it all down. I kept reading as I wanted to see the ending, but found it strangely anti-climatic after so much drama.

Milchman does do a great job with describing her settings. I could feel the cold in upstate New York. I liked the cover art as well.

I picked up Cover of Snow based on the positive cover blurbs of many of my favourite authors - Harlan Coben, Lee Child etc. and the publisher's comparison to Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl. Sadly, it just didn't live up to those expectations for me. Have a look - read an excerpt of Cover of Snow.

You can find Jenny Milchman on Twitter and on Facebook.

12 comments:

Kay said...

I think I had the same feelings you did, Luanne. I picked this one up, read a bit, and very easily put it down. Not holding my interest and I was sure it would. I suspect I will read the end just to see how it turns out and then let it go.

Cozy in Texas said...

Sorry this disappointed. I have read many authors who are highly recommended, but shift point of views without even a break in the page and are confusing as to who is speaking.
Ann

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) said...

I haven't read this one yet, but it's one that sounded so promising. I'll try a few chapters.

Marce said...

Oh no, your the 2nd of the day with a not great review and similar concerns. I am intrigued but it is slipping.

Luanne said...

Ah Kay - I thought I might be the only person who was thinking meh. Let me know what you think when you finish.

Ann- We can't love every one can we?!

Nicole - I'll be curious to see what your final thoughts are as well.

Marce - I think the reviews are going to be a mixed bag on this one. Try it and see what you think.

Heather @ Book Addiction said...

I agree with much of what you said here. To me, it was a kind of tragedy because I met the author and REALLY loved her. Sad.

leeswammes said...

Great review! I agree in as far I read this book (about 1/3) - I gave up because the story was rather bland, it didn't grip me. Such a pity!

Isi said...

Well, I just have read that Judith (Leeswammes) couldn't finished, and now I see the whole reason :)
It's a pity because, as you said, the plot seems to be interesting, but...
And if all people can say about the book is that the cover is beautiful (it is!), well, I can't put it on my list!! ;)

Michelle Shannon said...

It was the comparison to Gone Girl that convinced me to read it. I should have known from there that it would never live up to that one.

Luanne said...

Ha! Me too Michelle - nope it didn't live up to it at all!

erl said...

Sorry I have to disagree with the negative reviewers. Strongly. The author is a master of intrigue and suspense. I read the book from cover to cover in one and a half days, not being able to put it down. Her very rich vocabulary and metaphor are unexcelled. The book requires intellect to keep track, but a careful reading is well worth the effort.

Luanne said...

Hi Erl - thank you for your opinion. Obviously we have differing thoughts on this title. I would have liked to read your review, but you have not left any link to your online presence. Do you have a personal connection to the author - you're quite vehement in your defense. And Erl? I'm quite intelligent and did indeed read the book carefully - and my opinion stands.