Secrets in the snow
Cover of Snow calls to mind a wisp of remembered verse from an old Agatha Christie story, bland but somehow menacing: “Snow, snow, beautiful snow. You slip on a lump and over you go.” But Jenny Milchman’s debut mystery novel, which begins with a sudden death, is not bland. It is filled with the claustrophobic tension that only a good thriller can provide. The suspense locks you in on every page, and snow piles up everywhere: thick, white, all-encompassing and holding everything in its freezing grasp. You can try to run, but you’ll probably slip and fall in a drift.
There’s definitely something wrong with the police force in Wedeskyull, NY, a remote town in the Adirondacks. After Nora Hamilton’s husband dies (by his own hand, we’re told), the widow seems to be alone in wanting to find out what’s behind this terrible event, of which she had no inkling. Turns out she knows very little about her hubby and even less about his second “family,” the close-knit town police force. His buddy cops are everywhere, showing up with no warning by Nora’s car and near her home. They appear to be protective—but they are watching her, leaving Nora in a circle by herself.
The doors of the community figuratively close in Nora’s face whenever she seeks answers. Most disconcerting of all is her mother-in-law Eileen, whose basement holds clues that Nora needs in order to solve the mystery of her husband’s death. At first Nora’s only ally seems to be a car mechanic, a wonderful literary creation named Dugger who appears to suffer from a form of autism, and whose conversations, spoken in obtuse rhymes, have to be deciphered. Nora also gets to know Ned, a local reporter—a man of many faces and layers—and together they set out to uncover the truth behind the ominous events that are buried under the snow of many winters.
When promo materials say there are deadly secrets buried within Cover of Snow—believe me, they are correct.