A Deadly Thaw – Sarah Ward

A Deadly Thaw coverTitle – A Deadly Thaw

Author – Sarah Ward

Published – 2016

Genre – Crime fiction

This the sequel to ‘In Bitter Chill‘ and opens with one of the most intriguing mysteries I’ve come across.

In 2016 the body of a man is discovered in a remote, disused mortuary and his identity brings some uncomfortable questions – both for his wife who was imprisoned for his murder in 2004 and the police who pursued the investigation. How intriguing is that??

The story is told across two timelines – 2004, when the initial murder was investigated and 2016, when the body is found a year after the release of his wife from prison. There are so many questions to be answered – who died in 2004, why did Lena confess to a murder she didn’t commit, where has the man been since 2004 and why didn’t he come forward, and who has now killed him? And of course all these questions mean that it would be easy to include spoilers – so I’ll keep the review short and hopefully spoiler-free.

Leading the current investigation are DI  Francis Sadler and DC Connie Childs, with the returning characters becoming further developed as the story progresses. There’s some interesting politics, too, about investigating the possible mistakes of their predecessors and superiors.

When Lena disappears her sister, Kat, takes matters into her own hands and tries to track her down – and this creates the second pov for the book, adding to the police perspective. This means that we learn about Lena and the background to the story from others rather than directly from Lena herself. The climax of the book comes as the two investigations begin to come together.

The author’s style mixes the elements of a cosy Peak District mystery with the chill of Nordic Noir. An enjoyable read, especially if you like intriguing British police procedurals which offer a slow burn rather than a thrill a minute – well this is rural Derbyshire!

Many thanks to the author for the review copy.


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