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Masello, Robert - 'Blood and Ice'
Hardback: 512 pages (Mar. 2009) Publisher: Harvill Secker ISBN: 1846552737

Michael Wilde is a young Washington State photo journalist, who was involved in tragic accident mountaineering with his girlfriend, he is unhurt, but she, regrettably, was severely injured and hasn't woken from her deep coma.

His magazine editor telephones him to enquire about his status as he has not returned to work since the accident. Whilst chatting to him, the editor tells him about a fantastic, once in a lifetime opportunity, that has come up, to represent the magazine on a month's commission to an Antarctic research station. If he takes the opportunity he needs to leave in three days. He decides that he'd better take it to get his mind off his fatally injured girlfriend. He has a lot of ambitions to photograph the spectacular landscapes and seascapes of that vast area.

Whilst on a diving expedition in the polar sea he discovers two bodies encased in ice. The pair, a man and a young woman are chained together and they're dressed in the Victorian garb of the mid- nineteenth century. The pair are brought to the surface in their block of ice, together with a trunk containing some strange luggage. The ice-bound couple are taken to the research station to thaw out and the mystery of the couple begins to be uncovered.

Intertwined with the modern history of Michael Wilde is the earlier story of the two lovers who originated from England. One is a nurse, the other a soldier. the two stories come together in a stupendous climax which took my breath away.

This story is quite lengthy but very absorbing and well plotted. There is not a wasted word as the author painstakingly increases the suspense with the details of Michael Wilde and the fascinating information of the day to day life on an American polar research station. I couldn't fault this American author's description of nineteenth century London either. I found it quite a page turner and couldn't put it down until I finished it three days later. "A stunning thriller", it says on the cover and I couldn't disagree with that and I consider it one of my best reads of 2009.

Terry Halligan, England
January 2010

More crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 10/01/2010 13:36