Title: The Ice Beneath Her
Author: Camilla Grebe
Translator: Elizabeth Clark Wessel
Publisher: Bonnier Publishing – Zaffre
Release date: September 8th 2016
Take a trip to the north, they said. It will be worth it, they said.
Well, it was!
I cannot believe I stayed stuck between the UK and the US for so long. Who knew Sweden had brilliant crime stories to offer you? (not me, apparently…)
I opened this book with little information beside my love for the beautiful and poetic cover and a blurb I had skimmed a couple of weeks before. Now I am seriously considering not reading blurbs when faced with a cover love. It is like going on a blind date. And you know what? The night I read The Ice Beneath Her, I hit the jackpot!
My love for thrillers and crime is strong and being my favorite genres, I am starting to get picky about the books entering this category. You know how it is. You read a brilliant thriller – two in a row if you’re lucky, and then the next one needs its best game to win you over. Camilla Grebe offers you just that. The Best Game. I don’t even know where to start.
A beheaded young woman. A rich CEO missing. This is all you need to know. Now grab a copy!
Right from the start, you understand you are in capable hands. I am a sucker for rules and I LOVED the simple detail of the characters putting on gloves and shoe covers before entering the crime scene. A detail yes, but a very important one. I mean, how many times have I sighed at the TV because the so-called experts would leave their hair unattached or touch important evidence with their greasy dirty little fingers? Even if it sounds less obvious in books, the fact that the author thought about adding it makes all the difference to me. And she does not stop here. Throughout the book, you are confronted with the reality of an investigation, the long nights, the curve balls, the procedure, the wait for results. It all feels real. The writing is pure and flows so easily I forgot I was reading words. They were all replaced by the images suggested by the author. I could have done without the image of a beheaded woman in my mind for the rest of the night, but this is my only complaint!
We are no more than society’s cleaning crew, tying up loose ends after the fabric frays and the unthinkable has already happened.
The characters are not neglected. The story is told through three different points of view. While sometimes it makes it difficult to connect with a character or to differentiate the voices, everything is crystal clear in The Ice Beneath Her. Scary clear. Hanne, Peter, and Emma are brilliantly crafted characters. I could instantly tell by the different emotions they sparked in me with every chapter. I was particularly touched by Hanne’s story, and the accuracy of her feelings was so good that even a couple of weeks after reading the book, I still vividly remember how she made me feel. I won’t give any more details because it would be depriving you of the pleasure of meeting them on your own. Every one of them has a story, every one of them has issues, and every one of them could be the person you just walked by on your way to the supermarket.
Love is a reflex, I think. Something we just do, like sleeping or eating. And maybe we fall in love with what feels familiar, like home.
Because this story is not about an investigation. This is a story about people connected by an investigation. The murder of a young woman and the disappearance of a rich man comes as an event in their lives. The book revolves around the lives of the characters, the author only throws in an investigation in the middle. This is a perfect reflection of life and of its way of getting in the way. Life is happening, enveloping the story, not the other way around. Working on a murder does not mean everything else disappears. You still have a family, you still have to come home, you still have to face whatever is thrown your way. The balance between the characters’ private lives and the investigation was so good that I was engrossed from the start and did not manage to stop reading until I reached the end. Hints are thrown your way all along and I figured what had happened around the 50% mark, but I was too involved with the characters to get bored, and that is the beauty of this story.
Longing is an excellent way to measure the value of what you have lost — a currency as reliable as any other.
Now I am curious about how to pronounce those Swedish names and places. Anyone fluent enough in the language to teach me?
The Ice Beneath Her has everything you look for in a thriller, even the things you are not aware you want.
I would like to thank the publisher for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.