Monday, March 18, 2013

Review: Cover of Snow (Audio)

Summary: Waking up one wintry morning in her old farmhouse nestled in the Adirondack Mountains of New York, Nora Hamilton instantly knows that something is wrong. When her fog of sleep clears, she finds her world is suddenly, irretrievably shattered: Her husband, Brendan, has committed suicide.

The first few hours following Nora’s devastating discovery pass for her in a blur of numbness and disbelief. Then, a disturbing awareness slowly settles in: Brendan left no note and gave no indication that he was contemplating taking his own life. Why would a rock-solid police officer with unwavering affection for his wife, job, and quaint hometown suddenly choose to end it all? Having spent a lifetime avoiding hard truths, Nora must now start facing them.

Unraveling her late husband’s final days, Nora searches for an explanation—but finds a bewildering resistance from Brendan’s best friend and partner, his fellow police officers, and his brittle mother. It quickly becomes clear to Nora that she is asking questions no one wants to answer. For beneath the soft cover of snow lies a powerful conspiracy that will stop at nothing to keep its presence unknown . . . and its darkest secrets hidden. -- Random House Audio

I probably shouldn't have ever started to listen to COVER OF SNOW by Jenny Milchman. But that's easy to say in hindsight! After reading Jill's review of this novel, I admit that I had a few doubts; however, I also read three more blogger reviews that were much more positive. I thought it was worth a shot. Plus I enjoy listening to mysteries while I run. I figured, "How bad could it be?"

Well... let me just say that COVER OF SNOW wasn't my favorite read of 2013. In fact, most of it really didn't work for me at all. I honestly didn't "get" the characters or their motives, and I thought the mystery was a little too far-fetched. In a psychological novel like this one, I need to be able to get in the minds of the characters and/or the victims to truly appreciate the story, and I just wasn't able to do that with this book.

Furthermore, I didn't really like the main characters or care much about what happened to them. I even found it hard to believe that the main character was as clueless about her husband, his family, and his friends as she seemed to be. There were just too many things about COVER OF SNOW that I had a hard time accepting.

COVER OF SNOW tells the story of Nora Hamilton, a woman who finds that her husband Brendan has committed suicide. After the initial shock of his death wears off, Nora begins to wonder why her husband didn't show any signs of depression or leave a suicide note for that matter. As a way to find some peace, she begins her own investigation into her husband's death.

As Nora starts asking questions about Brendan's final days, she finds that his coworkers on the police force as well as his mother aren't exactly open with their answers. As she digs deeper, she finds that there is a huge conspiracy in this small town, and the co-conspirators will do whatever it takes to protect their interests.

For the most part, I really love blogging and sharing my thoughts about books I've read; however, every once in awhile, I dread writing a review. That has most definitely been the case with COVER OF SNOW. I have read that Ms. Milchman is a great person, and I don't want to trash her debut novel just because it didn't resonate with me. In fact, I do think she has some potential as a writer; and I thought some of her prose was very well-written. I just think the story needed some refining.

The COVER OF SNOW audio book was read by Cassandra Campbell and I think she did a good job. As someone who doesn't listen to a ton of audio books, I have a hard time separating the story from the reader, but I do think she became one with Nora's character. I also thought her pace and inflections were very much in keeping with the overall tone of the novel. You can listen for yourself below:

Rather than focus on what I didn't appreciate about this novel, I want to share that there are plenty of readers and reviewers out there who really liked this mystery. For instance, Booklist and Kirkus both gave it starred reviews, and S. Krishna's Books enjoyed it too -- you can read her review here. It's entirely possible that I just wasn't in the right mood for this book when I read it.

While it didn't work for me, I am certain that there are readers out there who will love COVER OF SNOW. If you appreciate psychological thrillers, then you just might want to give this one a shot!

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this audio book.

Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.


Sandy Nawrot said...

Wow Cassandra her. But honestly, while the author was totally sweet, I'd read SO many bad reviews (more bad than good, which made me scratch my head on the good ones) that I just passed. And I was so excited about this one.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Well, as usual, you are so much nicer than I when it comes to writing negative things! The book really is a shame too, because I wanted to like this one so much!

Beth F said...

I trust you and Jill and others. There are so many great audios out there, I'll pass on this and go for a sure winner.

Unknown said...

It's not easy writing a negative review, but you did so with class, Julie. Thank you for your honesty. It's a shame too many things didn't work here.

bermudaonion said...

It sounds like this author has potential - I'll keep an eye out for her future work.