LOVEREADING VIEW ON UNTIL THE ICE CRACKS
Well, what a humdinger of a book this turned out to be. A mash-up of dystopian, futuristic fiction and Nordic police thriller, with a dash of the supernatural. It’s set 50 years in the future in Eldisvik, a Scandinavian city where you’re all right if you’re in the Free Zone, but venture outside its borders and you’re in increasing danger (and even the police won’t enter the Double Red Zone without some serious protection). The initial premise of the story is that a Decoy (sort of undercover agents aided by packs of vixens – I know, I know . . . .) has gone rogue and the police, led by Nero Cavello, have to investigate. There’s a second storyline of a young student, Bruno, who is kidnapped by the rogue Decoy who wants to use Bruno’s telepathic abilities. Alongside all this, we have political chicanery, corruption and possible infiltration of the police. Oh, and Nero also has telepathic abilities, just like Bruno. The descriptions of the technological advances felt realistic – just advanced enough from where we are now to feel futuristic, but not unbelievably so. However, I really wanted to know how things had got to be as they are. Why have the police lost control of the outer zones? What’s happened in the rest of the world? There are a few hints of catastrophes elsewhere – the city seems to be a real multi-cultural mix and there are references to lots of people being refugees. It took me a while to really engage with the book – there were too many things going on and I could have done with the characters being fleshed out more; I didn’t feel particularly invested in any of them until quite a way in. However, the characters eventually came to life and once that happened the story fairly hurtled along. The ending was a real cliff-hanger – rather too much so for my taste. Of course, you don’t want all the loose ends neatly tied up, otherwise, why read the rest of the series? But hardly any questions at all were answered. Nevertheless, I’m well and truly hooked. It’s rare that I reach the end of a book shouting “Oh no” as I realise it’s finished. I look forward to my next visit to Eldisvik.
Bernadette Scott, A LoveReading Ambassador
Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite. Awarded 5 stars.
In Jan Turk Petrie’s Until the Ice Cracks, it’s the winter of 2068, and a massacre in a criminal-infested zone by a rogue agent－a ‘decoy’－sends the authorities on a cat and mouse chase, including putting the governor’s job on the line. Inspector Nero Cavallo and his team from the Homicide Department are tasked with hunting down the one that the public called the Avenging Angel. In the midst of the manhunt, a young man named Bruno Mastriano is trying to escape a group of rebels who want to use his special ability to their benefit. As things start to unravel, the truth begins to claim more lives and complicates the situation.
Until the Ice Cracks by Jan Turk Petrie is a noir-esque Nordic crime thriller in the near future. Other than the imprinting process between human and animals, the proposed future military tech - such as exo-suits as well as generalized gadgets like stud and credit as currency - is not hard to believe. A few of them already exist today, albeit still in their early stages of development. The plot and the dialogue are delivered in a writing style that has a subtle peculiarity, giving a slightly dreamlike quality to the story. Protagonist Nero is astute, matter of fact and determined－a ‘traditionalist’ cop who also contributes to the cynicism, fatalism, and moral ambiguity elements of Petrie’s crime thriller. That said, not everything is answered when the book ends. I still wonder about Constable Chan－there’s another layer to her persona that is yet to be revealed. Then again, more answers can definitely be found in its sequel. Overall, an intriguing read.