Thursday, June 2, 2011

Cold as Ice

Congratulations to Stephanie Black, who received the Whitney Award for her novel "Cold as Ice".
This is the third consecutive year that Stephanie has won the award in the "Mystery/Suspense" category.
The Whitney Awards are awards given annually for novels by LDS authors. The Whitney Awards are a semi-independent non-profit organization affiliated with the LDStorymakers, a guild for LDS authors. 
I bought the book when we were in SL at Deseret Book and finished it in 2 days, it was great and I enjoyed it a lot.

That was part of an email I received announcing awards members of my ward (church congregation) had recently been given.  I have to admit, I’m really excited to talk about this book because I know the author!  Actually I know her kids better than I know her but whatever.  Her second daughter was the first babysitter we ever hired when we moved to California and she babysat for us a few days after we moved in so I could go to a prenatal appointment.  So crazy. 

Last year we had a Relief Society activity (activity for the adult women) where Stephanie talked about her journey to becoming a published author.  It was fascinating and intimidating to me all at the same time.  Ever since that meeting I have been dying to read one of her books.  I had heard she was an author but I didn’t really know what she wrote or much more about it than that.  She writes suspense murder mystery type books.  Most of her books are that genre.  I think one was a futuristic sci-fi book. 

A friend of mine told me she bought one of Stephanie’s books and would let me borrow it.  She gave it to me on Sunday when I was substituting Parker’s Primary class.  It took a lot of self control to put the book under my chair and be a good example for my class during Singing Time and Sharing Time in Primary.  I came home ready to devour the book.  But I fell asleep about 20 pages into it.  It was exciting, don’t get me wrong.  I just could not stay awake.  For the next four days I struggled to find time to read.  I would have 15 or 20 minutes here and there to read a little bit.  It was agonizing because I would read one sentence and immediately be sucked into the story only to be interrupted by something I could not avoid dealing with.  Agonizing!  I immerse myself in books stopping long enough to eat or use the restroom.  My family suffers every time I get the hankering for another book!  Not this time.  I suffered because of them.  Ok, not really.  The end of the school year and Memorial Day Weekend is a terrible time to try to read an amazing book. 

I read Goosegirl by Shannon Hale several months ago.  At the end of the book there was an interview with Ms. Hale printed out.  She said that she was offended to learn that one of her readers finished the book (over 300 pages) in 90 minutes.  She had spent so much time writing that book and someone finished it in 90 minutes!  How dare they!  I remember thinking, “Oh honey, you have it all wrong.  That’s a good thing.  They were so involved in the story they couldn’t put it down and ended up finishing in 90 minutes.”  It took me longer because I couldn’t manage to get emotionally involved in the story or the characters.  I just wasn’t feeling it.  Contrast that experience with the frustration of taking four days to read the most gripping book I have read in a long time! 

Cold as Ice was amazing.  I can’t think of a better adjective to describe it.  I predicted early on who the killer was but what held my attention was how.  Who helped the killer?  Did anyone help the killer?  How did he know so much to frame another character for the murder so convincingly only that character’s sister believed he was innocent?  Stephanie had me suspecting almost every character at least once along the way.  I will say there was one part of the story that felt out of place.  It felt like a literary attempt at more drama.  Oh but I was wrong.  My suspicions of the situation turned out to be right but not for the reasons I originally thought.  That twist in the plot caught me off guard and I loved it! 

When the killer was revealed I was surprised and not surprised.  It was interesting to fairly accurately predict the major points of the plot but be kept guessing on the how until the climactic ending.  That was cool to me.   I am a writer’s dream come true.  I am so gullible and am so easily pulled into stories that I enjoy practically everything I read.  For a book to fall flat with me, it must be a really bad book!  I figure things out along with the main character feeling as shocked and amazed as they are.  So this book was super cool to me to be able to predict but not really.  I don’t know how to explain it.  I want people to read it so I don’t want to reveal too much anyway. 

This is a great story that is well told.  It will hold your attention from beginning to end.  At least it did for me.  Now I want to get more of her books.  The book with the twin sisters trading places is the one I really want to read next.  I don’t remember the name of it.  Unfortunately these books won’t be at my public library.  My library is very liberal in taste and doesn’t even carry anything as controversially conservative as Dr. Laura Schlesinger.  I loved Cold as Ice enough to just order her other books online because I know I won’t be disappointed. 

4 thoughts:

Grandma W said...

Sounds like books I need to read! Maybe I will be able to get my copies autographed.

The Piquant Storyteller said...

Sure, I could get your copies autographed for you. You would love her books!

Jane K. said...

I typically only read non-fiction because I have a problem when I read fiction: I can't put it down. With non-fiction I can read a chapter a night or such. With fiction I will stay up until three in the morning reading and then be a mess the next day. It's crazy, but a good book can really become an addiction. I consider a fiction book good if I feel like I am right there with the characters. Also, I find myself casting the characters for a movie. Do you ever do that?

The Piquant Storyteller said...

I agree Jane. I don't read much non-fiction but I really like author's who write essays or short stories like Robert Fulghum, Dave Barry, or Ray Bradbury. Their books are easy to read a chapter at a time, which my family appreciates.

I love casting the characters for a movie! When I read The Belgariad series by David Eddings I knew who could play every character but Polgara. Now I know the perfect person to play her is Stacy London from TLC's What Not to Wear. She is exactly how I imagined Polgara looked and Stacy could pull off Polgara's caustic personality.