Okay, here we go!
Today I'm reviewing Julie Flanders first book, Polar Night. It's a paranormal thriller, and I'll tell you straight out that it's not a genre that I'm typically drawn to - sometimes, but not often. But that's okay, right? After all, some of you might say that a book about a boy who wishes to live in a Christmas village isn't usually your cup of tea either!
What's really fun, though, is when you read a book that isn't something you think you'd normally be drawn to, and you end up pleasantly surprised because YOU LIKE IT. That's what happened to me with Polar Night.
I liked it. I really, really liked it.
Julie pulled me into the story quickly and I didn't want to stop reading. And she has created two characters that have tremendous appeal - our hero, Danny Fitzpatrick, and our villain, Aleksei Nechayev.
Danny is a classic cop hero - he's from Chicago, self-exiled to Fairbanks, Alaska after events that have left him badly damaged emotionally. He's working cold cases, drinking too much and barely holding himself together. The great part about that is that it makes him a guy with nothing much to lose, and that of course, makes him willing to take risks. And, it's not that our villain, Aleksei is a likable bad boy, no, indeed. But he is definitely compelling.
A current missing woman case leads Danny to make a connection with the cold case he's working. Pretty soon, he's on to something BIG, but where it leads him is a whole lot bigger than he - or we - expected! That's all I'm going to say, because saying more would take away surprises, and Julie has done a great job with her surprises.
She's also vividly captured Alaskan winters and used that very effectively to create setting and mood. A former insane asylum in a remote Alaskan location ... well, it doesn't get much more unnerving than that.
It feels to me like Julie has left space for a sequel, or even a series. I think that Danny Fitzpatrick could develop into a classic cop hero along the lines of Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch. The potential for his long-term redemption - or total defeat - is fun to contemplate. I don't know what Julie's plans are for him - if any, but I'm hoping we haven't heard the last of Danny Fitzpatrick.
Click on the book cover above to go to Polar Night on Amazon.com: Or, click here: