Shiver is the second book I’ve read this year that is set on the snowy mountains and it’s really whetted my appetite for more of this kind of book. The setting is so menacing, so liable to turn at a moment’s notice from something pleasant and fun to something life-threatening.
Shiver focuses on the snowboarding community of athletes competing to be the best in the French Alps. Ten years ago there were six of them but Saskia disappeared and now five are meeting up again, apparently for old times sake. However, it turns out that is not the case and somebody is out to punish them, play games with them and completely unsettle them.
The story is told by Milla, a promising snowboarder ten years ago, but like the others, the events back then have taken their toll on her life and she’s been drifting ever since. The chance to meet up again with Curtis (Saskia’s brother), Brent, Dale and Heather again is too good to miss, and not only that, she can get out on the snow again.
Milla is an engaging protagonist. It was interesting to see events both now and then through her eyes, particularly as she’s very competitive and Saskia was her bête noire. In fact, all the characters are well-drawn, some more likeable than others, and whilst a healthy dose of competition is fine, sometimes it went further than that. What did really happen to Saskia?
The setting is absolutely perfect. Out of season, the gang find themselves in a deserted resort, with more and more sinister goings-on occurring. I felt quite shivery myself at times as I felt chills go down my spine. Did you know that glaciers give up bodies at a certain time every year, sometimes years after a person has gone missing? I have to say I’m feeling quite glad I’m not into snow sports!
Shiver is a fast paced and exciting thriller with tight plotting that allows the story to unfold organically, linking what happened in the past to what is happening in the current day storyline. It looks set to be one of 2021’s big hitters and rightly so. It’s tense, thrilling and a genuinely chilling locked room mystery, with what I thought was a really clever ensemble piece denouement.
Review by Nicola Smith, Short Books and Scribes
Publisher : Headline (21 Jan. 2021)
ISBN-13 : 978-1472270245, Hardback