The promised summer heatwave hasn’t arrived, but you can still cool down by reading a thriller set in an ice hotel in the frozen depths of Swedish Lapland. The author, Hania Allen, paid a visit to such a hotel a few years back and was so taken by the weirdness and transience of the structure that she was inspired to write this standalone thriller, a change from her wonderful Dania Gorska, the Polish detective, series.
Of course the joy of an ice hotel is that it is the perfect place to commit a murder – or murders – as all the incriminating evidence melts and vanishes in the spring . . . no excuse for not committing the perfect crime there! And just how do you catch a killer under those circumstances? Plus life seems so fraught there anyway; to go to the loo in the middle of the night is risky – you have to get fully dressed in special padded clothing or risk freezing to death en route! Not the most relaxing of holidays, I think.
So clearly, the ice hotel is the perfect place to stage a murder, but it all sounds terrifyingly beautiful too, and all that dazzling whiteness and silence must be so exhilarating. Indeed, the place seems so alien to our day-to-day, in parts it is like reading an SF novel. So if you want a few hours of pure escapism – or if you just want to cool off – then do pick this up and prepare to be chilled.
by Hania Allen
'Refreshing . . . I look forward to reading more' Alex Gray
'First-rate' Sunday Sport
A seasonal hotel where murder can be made to disappear with the sun . . .
Maggie Stewart travels with friends Liz and Harry to the Ice Hotel, a surreal building in Swedish Lapland constructed from ice cut from the nearby river. During the day, it is a museum housing ice sculptures, but at night it becomes a novelty hotel. Shortly after their arrival, the holiday turns into a nightmare. A near-miss snowmobile accident is followed by the discovery of the frozen body of one of the hotel's American guests. Maggie is shocked to learn that this was no accident: the American was drugged and pushed out of his sleeping bag to freeze to death in the room.
As the body count rises and Maggie finds herself in mortal danger, she realises that the only person she can trust is Thomas Hallengren, the detective leading the case. But can he uncover the killer's identity before the Ice Hotel and other buildings - the Ice Chapel and Ice Theatre - melt back into the river, taking the clues with them?
Praise for Hania Allen
'A fresh new find for crime fans' Sunday Post
'Nicely nasty in all the right places . . . The story rattles along until bringing the curtain down with an unnerving twist' Craig Robertson
'Captivating characters and an intriguing plot. A great new find for crime fans' Lin Anderson
'Pitch-perfect . . . a witty, tense crime novel written in a highly readable style' Russel D McLean