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 clichéd - 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.
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