cover image GLARE ICE


Mary Logue, . . Walker, $23.95 (256pp) ISBN 978-0-8027-3371-9

Wisconsin winter weather plays as important a role as any individual in this nicely paced tale of domestic abuse and murder. Police officer Claire Watkins, last seen in Dark Coulee (2000), is still adjusting to life in little Fort St. Antoine when she notices the bruises and stiff gait of a local woman named Stephanie Klaus. Small town or big city, Claire knows the signs of abuse when she sees them. Stephanie, however, won't talk, even when her new boyfriend, Buck, is tied into his car, driven out on the treacherous ice of Lake Pepin and left there to sink and drown. When Stephanie, accompanied by Buck's delightful dog, Snooper, tries to leave town, she is once again beaten; this time, she barely survives. Still she won't identify her attacker. Claire, in between Thanksgiving details involving her daughter, her sister, her boyfriend, Rich—a teensy bit tiresome in his devotion—and Rich's mother, tracks down Stephanie's creepy parents, ex-husband, brother and a police officer full of attitude. Claire still can't identify the culprit, but Stephanie has some protection in the form of her neighbor Sven Slocum, a retired executive with a generous heart. As a massive snowfall begins to pile up, visibility is practically nil, but Claire at last begins to see things clearly. The finale is not as fully developed as it might be, but a powerful sense of place and good clean writing greatly enhance this somewhat unremarkable plot. In addition, Claire Watkins is an appealing heroine who, in a refreshing break from the standard modern female protagonist, leaves her political agenda at home. Agent, Jane Chelius. (Nov. 16)