The Ice Killer by Ross Greenwood #BookReview #BlogTour


Once, her heart was empty. Now it's filled with ice...
Ellen's therapist told her to forget the past, but the life she’s left with is boring. All she wants is to be happy and normal, but the approaching long bleak nights of winter loom heavy before her, especially as she'll be alone.
But when the secrets her mother put in place to protect her are exposed, Ellen learns the frightening truth. Her history is darker than she imagined. She's not who she thinks she is, and the real her is a very different person to the one that others have mistreated and exploited. If there's hope of a future, Ellen must find answers about the past, and the new Ellen is less forgiving.
This winter, there will be more than just discontent, and DI Barton will struggle in his hardest case to date.
How can he find the truth when all the victims and witnesses are dead?

It's such a pleasure to be hosting the blog tour for The Ice Killer today. Many thanks to Ross Greenwood, Boldwood Books and Rachel Gilbey from Rachel's Random Resources for inviting me and for my digital copy of the novel.

Having thoroughly enjoyed the second book in Ross Greenwood's D.I. Barton trilogy, The Soul Killer I've been looking forward to reading The Ice Killer. I haven't yet managed to read the first novel, The Snow Killer but this does at least mean that I'm able to confirm that it is possible to read each book as separate standalones  - although as always with a series, returning readers will appreciate the development of the recurring characters.
While much of the novel follows D.I. John Barton, there are many chapters which are told from Ellen's perspective and I can honestly say I'm not sure I've ever come across a more complex, morally ambiguous character. At first she appears to be a rather timid, downtrodden woman but after drunken night out ends horrifically we see a different side to her. It gradually transpires that she has a dark history but even she doesn't seem to know quite what she is capable of.
Barton and his team are called out to a strange triple murder but though the men obviously died violently, the evidence isn't initially clear enough for the police to determine whether somebody else was involved. As the body count in Peterborough rises, Barton becomes convinced that the deaths are somehow linked, but he is also trying to learn the ropes in his new position as Acting D.C.I. and is torn between supporting his officers at the scene or trusting them enough to do the job he knows they are capable of, while he remains at his desk. It's a fine line for him to tread and I enjoyed following his thought processes as he weighs up the pros and cons of his possible promotion.
The Ice Killer puts readers in the position of knowing exactly how each murder happens and why but that's not to say there aren't any surprises. Some of the shocks come from the suddenness of the attacks inflicted on the victims - I won't say unfortunate because these are not innocent men and though their deaths are crimes, it is hard to feel too much sorrow for them. Ellen, however, is a far more intriguing character. As we learn about her mental health issues and her troubled life, it's impossible not to feel some empathy for her. That said, her cold, detached demeanour is often utterly chilling and although she is a conflicted figure, there is no doubt as to how dangerous she really is.
While it's inevitable that Barton will eventually piece this gruesome jigsaw together and realise who is responsible for the outbreak of deaths in the city, it's not at all obvious how the unpredictable Ellen will respond to the tightening net around her. By the end of the novel, it's hard to imagine that this intelligent, cunning killer is the same woman we met at the start but I always believed in the transformation and actually found myself unable to fully condemn her despite everything that occurs here.
This is a dark, often violent novel that doesn't flinch from exploring the very worst of human behaviour but it's written with a perceptive acknowledgment of the often sad reality that many of those who end up facing prison sentences often have mental health issues and have been let down by a system which frequently is only able to paper over the cracks. Although undoubtedly not cosy crime, much of the dialogue is refreshingly light-hearted and I enjoyed the clear distinction between the third person chapters following Barton and his team and Ellen's more conversational first person narrative. 
The Ice Killer is an addictive thriller with a well-paced rollercoaster of a plot and excellent characterisation. Though currently the final book in the D.I. Barton series, I'm sure I won't be the only reader crossing my fingers for more please!

The Ice Killer is published by Boldwood Books, purchasing links can be found here but please support independent bookstores whenever possible.

Don't miss the rest of the blog tour, details are below.

About the Author

Ross Greenwood is the author of six crime thrillers. Before becoming a full-time writer he was most recently a prison officer and so worked everyday with murderers, rapists and thieves for four years. He lives in Peterborough.