The Blurb (from Goodreads):
They don’t know what I did. And I intend to keep it that way.
How far would you go to win? Hyper-competitive people, mind games and a dangerous natural environment combine to make the must-read thriller of the year. Fans of Lucy Foley and Lisa Jewell will be gripped by spectacular debut novel Shiver.
When Milla is invited to a reunion in the French Alps resort that saw the peak of her snowboarding career, she drops everything to go. While she would rather forget the events of that winter, the invitation comes from Curtis, the one person she can’t seem to let go.
The five friends haven’t seen each other for ten years, since the disappearance of the beautiful and enigmatic Saskia. But when an icebreaker game turns menacing, they realise they don’t know who has really gathered them there and how far they will go to find the truth.
In a deserted lodge high up a mountain, the secrets of the past are about to come to light.
I’m reading a lot of murder mysteries right now, and this was recommended to me by Dervla McTiernan who is one of my favourite contemporary crime novelists. Shiver is set at a ski resort high in the French Alps, during the low season when the resort is shut. A group of old friends come together for a reunion – ten years ago, they were young snowboarders at the resort, training to make it big in the competitive world of professional snow sports. One of them disappeared, breaking the group apart, but now a mysterious invitation has drawn them back together – but not to rekindle friendships, as expected, but for ice-cold revenge.
The story is told from the first-person point-of-view of an unreliable narrator – a device beloved of modern crime writers – and the narrative alternates between the revenge drama of today and the bitter rivalry and jealousies of that winter ten years earlier. The author, Allie Reynolds, has a background in professional freestyle snowboarding, and this inside knowledge helps make the world of the characters feel real. I’m not a snowboarder myself (though my husband and children are), but thankfully Allie keeps the vernacular light and easy to understand. The narrator Milla is tough yet vulnerable, and the story whips along at a cracking pace from the very first line: ‘it’s that time of year again. The time the glacier gives up bodies.’ The atmosphere is suitably icy and terrifying, and Milla’s voice is pitch perfect. I whizzed through the book at high speed, and enjoyed it immensely. It does not read like a thriller written by a debut author at all!