Monday, September 21, 2015
Munich in the late 1930s-the first years of fascism and the last before the war-is a dangerous place. Kathie is desperate to leave her sheltered village life and sets out for the city, determined that she’ll get by, one way or another. She is dark-haired, buxom and pretty, like the women who recently disappeared without a trace.
Young women are being found around Munich, abused and murdered. Josef Kalteis has been arrested, but is he really responsible for all those misdeeds? Did they execute the wrong one while the murderer is still on the loose?
Lost somewhere in between her naive search for luck and existential concerns, occasional prostitution and the desire for true love, Kathie is in grave danger. -- Quercus
ICE COLD by Andrea Maria Schenkel is probably one of the shortest novels that I've ever covered for Mystery Mondays. It's only 140 pages, but it's extremely unique and packs a powerful punch. Author Schenkel wrote the critically acclaimed THE MURDER FARM which my father reviewed here. It seems like she's a major force to be reckoned with when it comes to crime novels.
ICE COLD takes place in Munich, Germany in the late 1930s, and it's based on the true crime events. The story follows possible serial killer Josef Kalteis, who might be responsible for the abuse and death of young women, and Kathie a young girl who looks a lot like Kalteis' victims. Kathie is desperate to escape from her life in a small town and move to the city -- no matter the cost!
ICE COLD is dark and depressing story that's very well written. The prose is powerful and the translation by Anthea Bell is very good. The story is actually told in a very original way. Kalteis' story is made up of police documents including interrogation logs and witness statements as well as his own internal thoughts. Kathie's story, on the other hand, is told through in third person narrative. The novel moves quickly between the characters and the various storytelling methods. Sound confusing for such a short story? It definitely could have been; however, the author writes so well that the transitions appear effortless.
Both of the main characters are fascinating in their own right. Of course, Kaltheis' story is disconcerting and some of the scenes are downright uncomfortable to read. I appreciated learning more about Kaltheis through the witness and police accounts'; and I liked that there was a little doubt about whether they got the right guy. Kathie is also interesting because she's a girl trying to find herself. She is both naive and looking for love, but she's also reckless and finds herself in a great deal of danger.
I really enjoyed the pacing of the novel. It's a very quick read because it's so short (I actually read it in one sitting), but it's also quite literary. The story moves quickly as the tension builds; however, the story also provides food for thought. It's really a smart book that is already capturing it's fair share of attention. It won the German Crime Prize and was awarded a starred review from Publishers Weekly.
ICE COLD is a solid piece of crime fiction from a very talented author. High recommended.
Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this 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. 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.