M.P. Cooley’s first novel Ice Shear is a solid, convincing mystery set in the snowy shadows of Hopewell Falls, New York. The story follows June Lyons, a former FBI agent who traded her big badge for the life of a small-town police officer to care for her sick husband, who has since passed. In an attempt to spend more time with her daughter and to fall in better with the police force, she volunteers for the graveyard shift. Her nights pass with no more excitement than driving drunks home and buying doughnuts for the morning shift.
The dear old town of Hopewell Falls is similar to Mayberry, until one night June finds a body of a celebrated congresswoman’s daughter impaled on icy shears that web the bottom of a frozen waterfall. The damage to the body indicates the girl died before the fall, but it’s only after another bloody body connected to the victim turns up that the case escalates into the murder mystery of the century and exposes the corrupt underbelly of a town laced with meth.
This pleasurable police procedural takes a while to pick up and does a fair job of telling Lyons’ side story as the main plotline progresses. Be patient, though—it’s worth the wait, as the story’s originality keeps readers engaged. When do you ever have a perilous biker gang showdown against a congresswoman who is in line for the vice presidency? Perhaps a trained mystery reader can see through the whodunit veil, but Cooley does an excellent job of taking readers through enough twists and turns that you’ll likely be guessing until the very end.