Friday, June 6, 2014

The Frozen Dead by Bernard Minier

The first victim is a horse: its headless, flayed body hangs suspended from the edge of a frozen cliff. On the same day as the gruesome discovery takes place, Diane Berg, a young psychiatrist starts her first job at a high security asylum for the criminally insane, just a few miles away She is baffled by the slightly unorthodox methods the asylum's director uses, and then greatly alarmed when she realizes that drugs are disappearing. Commandant Martin Servaz can't believe he has been called out over the death of an animal. But there is something disturbing about this crime that he cannot ignore. Then DNA from one of the most notorious inmates of the asylum is found on the corpse...and a few days later the first human murder takes place. 

This was an interesting read, but it did not quite fulfill the expectations its blurb creates.

What I felt, more than anything, was that its pace was too slow for the genre. Although the very beginning (I’m talking about the first two or three pages) is attention-catching, the rest slowly unwinds in a way that doesn’t help maintain the right amount of tension. 

The best thing that the novel has going for it is the location. The action takes place in such a desolate area that it goes a long way into building up a bit of fear in the reader. If the pace had been a bit faster, tenser, it would have made for a truly chilling read.

As it is, I would perhaps recommend it to people who like a literary thriller, although the writing is not quite literary.

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