cover image Black Ice

Black Ice

Carin Gerhardsen, trans. from the Swedish by Ian Giles. Scarlet, $25.95 (400p) ISBN 978-1-61316-222-4

A fatal hit-and-run two-car collision on the backroads of the Swedish island of Gotland in January 2014 serves as the catalyst for a spiral of treachery over the next four years in this skillfully plotted psychological thriller from Gerhardsen (Cinderella Girl). With no one reporting the wrecked vehicle, which landed in a ravine and was subsequently covered by snow for days, it’s written off as a single-car accident. But that’s something at least one person, in addition to the drunk driver, knows to be false, and that witness’s blackmail attempt sets in motion a chain reaction of intimidation, kidnapping, and murder. Gerhardsen skillfully makes the most of her premise by allowing only limited flashes of information to emerge from the quartet of narrators, whose identities and roles begin to become clear only about halfway through the novel, precipitating a fresh set of increasingly perilous twists. The author’s mastery of tone imbues a largely tragic tale with touches of humor. By turns touching and terrifying, this nail-biter deserves a wide audience. (June)