(Murder in the Mountains): Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick

(Murder in the Mountains): Black Ice by Becca FitzpatrickBlack Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick
on 7th October 2014
Pages: 400
Goodreads
three-stars
Britt Pfeiffer has never been that adventurous, but that's about to change. Wanting to impress her ex-boyfriend, Britt convinces best friend, Korbie, to take a trekking trip with her. But when a freak storm leaves the girls stranded they seek shelter in a cabin, where they find two knights in shining armour. Or so they think. Britt quickly realises that the girls need to get off the mountain, fast. In exchange for her life, she is forced to guide the boys down, and as they set out on a harrowing journey through the cold and snow, Britt realises the only way to escape with her life is to pretend she is on their side. But is gorgeous, sexy Mason an enemy or an ally? Tension mounts, and it's only a matter of time before things turn deadly . . .

Britt has been looking forward to her senior spring break with BFF Korbie for months. Instead of the typical beach scene, Britt has planned a hiking trip around the Wyoming mountains and a cosy cabin to stay in. As prepared as she may be, Britt never anticipated just how dangerous the woods could be. There’s more out there than just snow and ice – bears and other predators roam the mountains too. Britt needs to use all her wits and survival knowledge to help her make it though spring break alive and find out just who she can really trust…

Becca Fitzpatrick has set up the perfect suspense story in Black Ice. There’s the eerie setting. Two somewhat naive girls on their way to a secluded cabin. And a couple of mysterious and complicated potential love interests whose true motives are less than clear. The build up is perfect – from the surreal prologue right up to moment when Britt realizes her holiday is not going to go according to plan. Where this story fell short for me is in what happens next.

This story is slightly predictable. When it comes to murder mystery type stories, I want the ending to be not quite what I was expecting whilst at the same time being believable with regards to the preceding story. And on this Black Ice partially delivers. The ending is great and makes perfect sense for the characters. But I found there to be a few too many clues and signposts regarding how everything clicked together. There is the occasional red herring thrown in to mix things up but for the most part – I wasn’t surprised.

The same could be said for main character Britt. She goes though quite a lot in this novel and despite it all she manages to hold all together. I thought she handled it a little too well. From finding out she’s spending the week in close quarters with her ex-boyfriend to breaking down in a snowstorm and trying not to freeze to death (not to mention ALL the thing which happen next) – Britt manages to keep functioning and carries on. Whilst her stoicness is great to keep the story flowing and had she fallen to pieces all the time I would have had problems with her melodramatic behaviour, she felt emotionless. After everything she had seen and been through, her lack of emotions caused her to feel slightly robotic.

Despite all I have said so far – there is a lot to like about Black Ice. It has a genuinely creepy vibe which kept me on the edge of my seat worrying for the characters. Mason, Shaun and Calvin each have very different dynamics with Britt and it was interesting to see just what each of them brought to the overall plot. I loved the relationship between Britt and Korbie with them being best friends who at times barely tolerate each other. Overall, Black Ice delivers an interesting story with a great premise and setting but I felt it fell a little short of my expectations.

Thanks to Simon and Schuster Australia for the review copy.

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