In A Cold and Lonely Place, the second novel of her new series, author Sara J. Henry returns with a plot that seems tailor-made for her character Troy Chance, a freelance writer who’s now working for a local newspaper in Lake Placid, New York. The first book in the series, Learning to Swim, won the author an Agatha Award and garnered bracing reviews from critics.
There is a mystery at the cold and lonely heart of this book, but first and foremost, it’s a poignant and haunting story about Troy’s search for the truth behind a young man’s life. Tobin Winslow, the person in question, has been discovered frozen beneath the ice of Lake Saranac, near the Winter Carnival’s ice palace. This tragic event throws the little community into disarray. An unfortunate news story by a rookie reporter somehow implicates Tobin’s girlfriend Jessamyn in the death and hits the Internet before it can be withdrawn.
Hoping to set the record straight, Troy accepts an assignment to write what she hopes will become Tobin’s real story. To Troy, Tobin seemed an attractive drifter who came from a moneyed past. He arrived in the Adirondacks and stuck around, taking up with Jessamyn but remaining elusive to those around him. Of Tobin, Jessamyn tells Troy, “He seemed like someone who could make anything happen, that anything was possible. That I could be anybody I wanted to be.”
Troy begins to write the story of a lifetime, about a young man with roots in a sad and unfulfilled childhood, underlined by a treacherous act against him that went so deep that he spent much of his life trying to separate himself from everything he once knew. When Tobin’s sister, Win, arrives in Lake Placid, she and Troy begin to put together the pieces of Tobin’s life by talking to those who knew him, from his nanny and teachers to old friends and acquaintances. They eventually unearth the facts behind the tragedy of his beloved older brother’s untimely death six years earlier, all leading up to Tobin’s arrival as a loner in this backwater town, where folks “don’t get involved with your life, except around the edges.”
This is a powerful, emotional journey for Troy, but ultimately a hopeful one, as she uncovers the stories behind one young man’s traumatic childhood, stories that will finally redeem him.