Sudden Ice

Jim Leeke, Author Strawberry Hill Press $8.95 (185p) ISBN 978-0-89407-073-0
A small-town cop on the solitary graveyard shift discovers a burning farmhouse in fictional Olentangy County, Ohio. Inside the smoke-filled dwelling, Deputy Sheriff Grayson Williams Jr. finds the murdered bodies of an old farmer and his wife. This lurid crime frames a wholly satisfying, rich tale concerning the people who try to solve it, including the haunted Williams, a Vietnam vet; golden boy Stephen Sinclair, a selfishly driven young journalist; and Harley Mauk, the investigating detective who is personally distraught by the loss of the elderly couple. This tough yet vital first novel, embellished with fictional police reports and news coverage of the murders, transcends the mystery genre and becomes a compelling excursion into the lives of the not-so-simple inhabitants of the small, rural town. Each graceful shift of the intertwined stories engages the reader, through rainstorms and romances. The novel is refreshing for its locale and attentive detail, and Leeke conjures a beautiful, wide-open Midwest tainted by violent death. Leeke's strong, confident prose is most masterful, however, when examining Williams's aching loneliness and alienation. The three-dimensional characters demand concern and belief, and keep one turning the pages rapidly through the oddly disturbing climax. (May)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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