cover image Iceman


Chris Lynch. HarperCollins, $15 (160pp) ISBN 978-0-06-023340-2

Like his more controlled Shadow Boxer , Lynch's second novel filters adolescent angst through a believable sports setting. Eric, the narrator, lives for hockey and his collection of offbeat pets. A disaffected kid, Eric starts to hang around the local mortuary after his grandmother's funeral; later, he expresses a desire to become an undertaker. As he struggles with his deep ambivalence about hockey, he is trying to reconcile his inner turmoil with the violence of the sport. Ultimately, he realizes that it is possible to be a good hockey player without being a thug. His parents, an ex-nun and a PR man, don't understand him, but he has the not always welcome support of his rebellious older brother Duane, a jock turned guitarist. Duane, who--with some style and imagination--disrupts the grandmother's wake, is by far the most unusual and compelling character here, and his relationship with Eric is the most fully realized. However, Lynch exaggerates the other characterizations and overdoes various plot developments, particularly one involving necrophilia. Despite the solid sports angle, this one falls short of a goal. Ages 12-up. (Mar.)