Sunday, November 04, 2012

A Wicked Snow

America is fairly obsessed with the serial killer, both in the true crime sense and the fictional sense.  There are many infamous killers out there who have captured our imagination, but they are mostly men.  Female serial killers are a rare breed.  Of the ten most prolific female serial killers, only three were active in the 20th century.  Compare that to just the number of male serial killers that you can probably name off the top of your head and you can understand why female serial killers get the kind of attention they do.

Even though the group is small, Gregg Olsen knows a lot about them.  The best selling author of non-fiction books on female killers turned his attention to creating a fictional one in his first novel, A Wicked Snow.   Hannah Griffin-wife, mother, and CSI- has spent most of her life trying to forget her past, and the terrible night when it was discovered that her mother killed at least 17 men and buried them on her Christmas tree farm.  After that night, Claire Logan became synonymous with evil and greed and filicide (killing one's own children-you're welcome!).  Her mother disappeared that night, and many people believed she was dead.  But Hannah felt sure that her mother was alive, and when a package turns up at her office containing evidence from her mother's case, she begins a search that leads her to some surprising discoveries.

This is a masterful thriller.  Olsen does a really good job pacing the novel so that you are totally drawn into the mystery without being frustrated by the things you still don't know.  Hannah herself is a character that is easy to relate to, as are the other major characters.  Her motives and actions seem perfectly reasonable given the circumstances, and there is an emotional impact from the fact that she was directly related to the events behind the current story.  As popcorn books go, this one is very satisfying!

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