About the Book:
In this propulsive locked-room thriller, a reunion weekend in the French Alps turns deadly when five friends discover someone has deliberately stranded them in a deserted mountaintop resort.
When Milla is invited to a reunion in the tiny resort that saw the peak of her snowboarding career, she drops everything to go. While she would rather forget the events of that winter, the invitation comes from Curtis, the one person she can’t seem to let go.
The five friends haven’t seen each other for ten years, since the disappearance of the beautiful and enigmatic Saskia. But when an icebreaker game turns menacing, they realise they don’t know who has really gathered them there and how far they will go to find the truth. In an isolated lodge high up a mountain, amid a looming snowstorm, the secrets of the past are about to come to light.
Imagine Agatha Christie set in the Alps and you have Shiver, a spectacularly sinister psychological debut.
‘It’s that time of the year again. The time the glacier gives up bodies. The immense mass of ice up there is a frozen river that flows too slowly for the eye to see. Recent victims brush shoulders with older ones in its glassy depths.’
I was captured by this novel right from the opening passage and I daresay, if I’d been on holidays and not having to get up to go to work the next day, I would have pulled an all-nighter and read from start to finish in one go, no small feat with a 400-page book. As it was, I still raced through it in only two nights, quite a rarity for me during the working week. The story is told in alternate chapters, the present day and then ten years previous, both from Milla’s perspective. In the past sections we are privy to all of the backstory up until the point where a set of tragic events occur that form the focus of the present-day sections. The format makes for a gripping read, short chapters with cliff-hanger endings – the very definition of a page turner. And then there’s the foreshadowing and doubt cast onto the various characters throughout different points in the story. The author has crafted this novel to perfection.
The backdrop for this thrilling story is the world of competitive snowboarding, a sport I knew nothing about prior to reading this book. The author herself is a former pro-snowboarder and this shows throughout the narrative, but only in the sense that you are immersed into the world, not because you are overwhelmed with its details. There is a perfect balance to this achieved by the author which is impressive for a debut about a topic they are no doubt passionate about. There’s always a risk of ‘too much information’ but that’s not the case with this book. I found myself intrigued about this sport, the risks versus rewards for the athletes, and enjoyed spending ‘the season’ with them.
In terms of the crime/suspense/thriller side of the story, you can’t get better than this. Twists and turns, the mind games, everyone doubting each other, everyone with motivation; it was excellent, with perfect pacing all the way through. I’ve already started recommending this one far and wide and I can envisage buying it as a gift for a few of my book loving friends and relatives. This is one that will no doubt pop up as a movie or TV series in the future, the gripping story has that adaptive quality and with the magnificent alpine setting, it would be visually stunning on the screen. I can understand all the hype around this one, it’s well deserved and I am happy to add my review into the mix.
Thanks is extended to Hachette Australia for providing me with a copy of Shiver for review.
About the Author:
Allie Reynolds is a former professional freestyle snowboarder who spent five winters in the mountains of France, Switzerland, Austria and Canada. Her short fiction has been published in magazines in the UK, Australia, Sweden and South Africa. Allie swapped her snowboard for a surfboard and now lives by the beach in Queensland. SHIVER is her debut novel.
Published by Hachette Australia
Released 27th January 2021