3 star

Review: Such a Winter’s Day by Carlene Thompson

Juliet Reid wasn’t able to save her murdered brother almost ten years ago. Can she face her demons to stop an ice-cold killer in their tracks a decade later?

Nine and a half years ago, Juliet’s talented brother Fin should have returned home. He didn’t. When Juliet set out to find him that snowy winter evening, she made a devastating discovery.

Now, Juliet returns to the small town of Parrish, Ohio to celebrate her twenty-fifth birthday with her parents. But when she arrives, she receives the shocking news that her father appears to have committed suicide. Why was he so distant shortly before his death? And why was he suddenly asking questions about Fin before his brutal murder?

As Juliet tries to come to terms with another family tragedy, she finds herself at the center of a series of spine-tingling events. What chilling secrets did her father uncover, and can she stop an ice-cold killer who’s determined to keep them hidden?

A relatively new book and definitely a new author to me. The synopsis was interesting and had great promise (and hence why I picked it), but ultimately a couple of things fell short for me in the execution of the whole thing. Still, I think I’d be open to reading some other books by this author because there were definitely elements that I liked.

Such a Winter’s Day revolves around our protagonist, Juliet, who lost her brother nearly 10 years ago. Since then she has left town in an attempt to leave that all behind her. However, another family tragedy strikes when she returns home, and her grand homecoming becomes a huge nightmare. A classic tale of the tragic past coming back to haunt, just what was the truth behind the murder of her brother so many years ago?

The characters were plentiful and honestly, perhaps a bit too many. It was hard to really get into depth with many of the characters, and that is probably one of the reasons why thrillers and mysteries don’t generally tend to feature too many characters. As a result, the story was a bit more character driven, with more backstory and connecting threads, but in that sense took a bit away from the suspense.

The plot was overall pretty good, as a murder mystery. There was a steady build up and a good execution of the climax into the finale. In terms of how the story was thought out, I felt that it was a pretty good story. However, I also felt like there was a lot of filler about the backstory, which didn’t always feel the most exciting or suspenseful. Another issue for me was how the story was told. I think I was hoping more for a suspenseful perspective rather than a third person omniscient. In a way, the story felt a lot more “told,” rather than “experienced,” which is what I generally prefer.

The story showed good promise though, weaving together an intricate plot for a murder mystery is not easy, and I kept reading through the slightly less exciting parts precisely to find out what would happen. So it was a page turner in a weird sense. Maybe I’m just picky about the way I expect a mystery/thriller to be written, and other people wouldn’t mind. I suppose the way it’s written makes it a bit less “scary,” so those who tend to avoid mysteries for this reason may have better luck with this one!

Overall Recommendations

Such a Winter’s Day is a story of our protagonist, Juliet, who returns to her home town long after she has left after the tragic murder of her brother 10 years ago. Coming back, another family tragedy quickly strikes, and Juliet is suspicious of the circumstances. Why are these events happening around her, and does it have anything to do with the murder of her brother 10 years ago? If you’re into the style of story that relies more on telling rather than direct showing or experiencing, this may be the murder mystery for you. Full of intrigue and interconnected threads of storylines, this character-driven plot may be for you if you enjoy those things!

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