Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick

Britt and Korbie's spring break trip is going to be epic. Britt's been training for it for months and has plans to hike the 40-mile Teton Crest Trail. Korbie plans to spend much of her time lounging in the family cabin making out with her boyfriend. And it's the boyfriend's attendance that prompts Korbie's parents to have her older brother, Calvin, tag along as chaperone. Britt is none too pleased about having her ex along on the trip but won't let it put a damper in her plans. Not even rumors of a killer stalking the woods near where they're staying can do that!

With everything packed and ready to go the two girls take off, planning to meet the boys there. Unfortunately, though the forecast was for clear skies, they're soon trapped in a freak snowstorm and unable to drive any further. Britt convinces her friend that they need to seek shelter and they're lucky enough to stumble upon a nearby cabin. But the two men they find in the cabin are anything but heroes. 

It's clear the men are hiding something and they plan to force Britt to help them trek their way to the highway. Are they the ones behind the recent murder everyone's been talking about? And will they really let Britt go once they make it out of the woods?

Becca Fitzpatrick's latest is a big deviation from her debut, Hush, Hush. Black Ice is a pretty straightforward teen thriller. No paranormal stuff here, just good old chills and thrills. 

It begins with a murder but the official story on this particular girl is that she's gone missing. The only hint the reader is given as to the identity of the killer is that he's a man with a crooked nose and a black stetson hat - the same details given on the person this girl was seen leaving a bar with before her disappearance. And so when Britt and Korbie come across Mason and Shaun in the cabin in the woods, Shaun sporting a distinctly crooked nose and a black stetson, it's understandable that they'd pretty immediately be concerned. 

I'll admit it was a bit too coincidental for me that Mason just happened to be passing through Idaho and the neighborhood gas station while Britt was getting her Slurpee fix and then just happened to be hiding out in this cabin in the Wyoming woods when the girls break down. I kind of wished that had been worked in a bit more fluidly (last chance for gas before heading up the mountain pass, maybe?). I got over that pretty quickly. 

Britt's ordeal is a harrowing one and the book is an intense read. I believed that her training would allow her to survive in the conditions she faced and I was completely convinced this character would face the challenges the way she did. With all the various bits and pieces it might seem like the story is a mish mash of plot elements but I really found that Fitzpatrick wove all the various story lines together in a way that made sense. There is a romance aspect that I thought played out quite well and I really loved the extra wrinkle of the serial killer. 

Black Ice has all the makings of a great teen read. It's a bit horror, a bit mystery, and a lot of action-packed suspense.

Rating: 4/5

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