Whenever I’m in the mood for some light reading, I find a thriller to read. Since I got an e-reader last summer, I find that I read more thrillers. Not only are there buttloads of thrillers out there, there are almost always thrillers on offer at my go-to webshop for e-books. That’s how I got The Girl in the Ice by Robert Bryndza. Besides, I read mostly positive reviews, so it had to be worth my time, right?
The Plot in the Ice
Thank you, dear Goodreads friends, for providing me with the plot as ever.
When a young boy discovers the body of a woman beneath a thick sheet of ice in a South London park, Detective Erika Foster is called in to lead the murder investigation.
The victim, a beautiful young socialite, appeared to have the perfect life. Yet when Erika begins to dig deeper, she starts to connect the dots between the murder and the killings of three prostitutes, all found strangled, hands bound and dumped in water around London.
What dark secrets is the girl in the ice hiding?
As Erika inches closer to uncovering the truth, the killer is closing in on Erika.
The last investigation Erika led went badly wrong… resulting in the death of her husband. With her career hanging by a thread, Erika must now battle her own personal demons as well as a killer more deadly than any she’s faced before. But will she get to him before he strikes again?
OK. It does sound a bit like any other thriller out there. A beautiful victim! The tough detective with a sad past! The surprising killer! Mystery! Suspense! Dun dun duuuuun!
It has a high pace, but…
Nah. This just wasn’t the thriller for me. It’s not that this is a terrible book. It’s not that Robert Bryndza can’t write. Because I finished this in no time, and so I have to admit it is a pageturner. So points for that aspect. It’s just that the characters didn’t do it for me. At all. Besides the cool forensic pathologist (who hardly makes any appearances at all), I couldn’t find a single character I really liked. They were so stereotypical.
The main character, Erika Foster, recently lost her husband due to her own fault. It should have made her more troubled, more of a loose canon. Harder to handle. But asides from just a couple of bad dreams, there’s hardly an issue with this. She just gets reinstated to her job and that’s about it. I didn’t feel for her one moment.
Her colleagues, whose names I can’t even remember despite finishing this book only yesterday, are bland policemen. Moss (?) is a gay woman, but it feels she was written as gay just to put some diversity in the book. The same reason why the other partner, Peterson (?) is a person of colour. And WHY, my God, do they keep calling her BOSS? It was fun for a couple of times, but these twats keep calling her boss The. Entire. Book. It’s not realistic, it’s a very annoying and stupid gimmick.
Oh, and let’s not forget the actual police bosses. These two men are the most stereotypical of all. Just watch some cop movies, throw all those chiefs in a blender and you get Dude 1 and Dude 2. See, I actually can’t remember their names.
The Killer of the Girl in the Ice (spoilers)
This is where the spoilers for Robert Bryndza’s thriller come in. Stop reading now if you are planning to read it yourself and want to be surprised (or not, as it was in my case).
I actually had both the brother and the sister on my radar since their introduction in the story. It was clear pretty fast the sister was too stupid so that left out only the brother. I hate it when I’m right so soon. And it felt like such a poor choice for the killer, when Andrea’s murder actually started out pretty mysterious.
And it was all too much, with so many characters involved in the murder(s). The father paying for his son, the sister taking the blame just to get another cat (Also, can I just say how poorly Andrea’s sister was written?), the fiancee who could care less and the actual bad guy not being all that bad, at least not in the book itself. It just all felt… meh.
So much could have been done with a rich girl in the ice, but it was just her murderous brother. The fact that Andrea knew pretty much everybody involved made the tension a lot less. Ah, here’s another dude who she just happens to know! And wait! Here is her long-lost best friend! Who… dies after three pages of stupid exposition. Because let’s face it: the only reason that girl was in the book, was for all that exposition. And how stupid are you if you let a key witness leave by herself?
This book was a weird mix of predicable (who did it, what would happen to the BFF, who were assholes and who were good guys) and weird (literally everybody in Andrea’s personal life is involved, the chapters written from the obvious male POV but with ‘the figure’ instead of a he/she pronoun).
So that’s it for Detective Erika Foster?
The Girl in the Ice is just the first book in this setting by Robert Bryndza. Even though the book came out in 2016, there are now no less than six books in the Detective Erika Foster series. I don’t know how that happened, maybe he already had written some books before getting a publishing deal, or maybe the man can write faster than some people can read.
For now though, yes, I am done with DCI Foster. She’s not the protagonist I was hoping for. But, as said, the book itself is well written. It has a super high pace, which is good. So while I’m done with Erika for now, I’m not closing the door on her forever. Maybe she and her annoying coworkers get better over time, get more depth and more backstories. If I read loving reviews for the other books in the series, I might just give them a try if I’m in the mood for a thriller and there’s a great deal going on for Erika & Co.