Blog Tour and Book Review: The Ice Killer by Ross Greenwood
The Ice Killer
Once, her heart was empty. Now it's filled with ice…
Ellen's therapist told her to forget the past, but the life she’s left with is boring. All she wants is to be happy and normal, but the approaching long bleak nights of winter loom heavy before her, especially as she'll be alone.
But when the secrets her mother put in place to protect her are exposed, Ellen learns the frightening truth. Her history is darker than she imagined. She's not who she thinks she is, and the real her is a very different person to the one that others have mistreated and exploited.
If there's hope of a future, Ellen must find answers about the past, and the new Ellen is less forgiving. This winter, there will be more than just discontent, and DI Barton will struggle in his hardest case to date.
How can he find the truth when all the victims and witnesses are dead?
It’s a rare police procedural which finds me rooting for the killer to get away with their crimes, but The Ice Killer definitely got close. I think it’s partly because half the book is told in the first person perspective of Ellen, who by the end of the story has killed at least seven men… all of whom had it coming. Three gang rapists, two drug dealers, one child molester and a police officer with a penchant for domestic violence against his girlfriends? None of them were much of a loss to society.
Acting DCI John Barton is the (third-person) protagonist of the other side of the story, as he tries to figure out just who is on a murderous rampage through Peterborough, and why. Surely, a woman couldn’t have done all this. DNA shows there was definitely one present… but was she alone?
Ellen is a sociopath, and there are some interesting questions asked here about whether certain mental conditions are more likely to be inherited, as he father was also a killer who could become dangerous when off his psychoactive medication. Ellen has had a difficult life; child of a single-parent family, her mother was agoraphobic and Ellen displayed mental instabilities from an early age. There’s a subtle indictment of the failure of the UK authorities to provide any meaningful help or regulation to those with serious mental illnesses, particularly to a child who should have been diagnosed much earlier than she was. Instead, Ellen falls through the cracks and in with a bad crowd, ending up being sexually abused, hooked on drugs and pimped out by her dealer before she spends some time in a psychiatric hospital getting the help she needs.
Now years later, Ellen is trying to live a relatively normal life, working in a call centre and wistfully trying to date, looking for love in all the wrong places. Her mother passes away suddenly, and it’s not until later in the story that I realised that was actually the catalyst for disaster, because it was Ellen’s mother who reminded her daily to take her medications, the meds which kept Bad Ellen under wraps.
As I noted before, it’s an unusual tactic for a police procedural to give us a first-person perspective of a sympathetic protagonist. Honestly, I was way more invested in Ellen’s story than in Barton’s; he was just… a bit of a dull plod in comparison. I found myself rushing through his parts of the story because I wanted to get back into Ellen’s head and figure out what the heck she was going to do next. Which is not, I think, ideal when Barton is supposedly the title character of the entire series.
Overall a strong and rather unique story; I’ll give it four stars.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.
Author Bio –
Ross Greenwood is the bestselling author of eight crime thrillers. Before becoming a full-time writer he was most recently a prison oﬃcer and so worked everyday with murderers, rapists and thieves for four years. He lives in Peterborough.
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