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Winter at the Door by Sarah Graves

My rating: 2 of 5

ebook, 272 pages
Published January 6th 2015 by Bantam
Available on: Kindle, Hardcover, AudioCD

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What they say:

“Sarah Graves writes with grace and intelligence, and a love for her state shines through in this stylish debut of a new series set against Maine’s dark and foreboding forests. I’m hooked!”—Margaret Maron, New York Times bestselling author of Designated Daughters

What I have to say:

Winter at the Door by Sarah Graves is the first book I’ve read by this American author. It is also the first book in her Lizzie Snow series featuring a big city female cop. I was attracted to read this book because of the title, the cover and the blurb.

Winter at the Door by Sarah Graves book cover

The cover immediately took me to one of those creepy little towns in the middle of nowhere where nothing ever happens until the hero/heroine of the story appears. The fog automatically added a bit of drama and suspense and the little cabin with only a light on felt like a perfect setting for a mysterious crime. The font although generic goes along with the artwork for the book cover and I was glad to see that the title of the book had predominance over the author’s name; I like authors who want to sell a book, a story, not his or her name.

The blurb had me at hello sort of. I mean:

…suspenseful new crime thriller series featuring the tough but haunted police chief Lizzie Snow, a big-city cop with a mission, taking on a small town with a dark side.

A tough girl who goes and turns a town upside down with her wits and charm, who can resist that?

The premise sounded good. Lizzie Snow, a homicide detective, moves to Bearkill, Maine where she will be given the mission of solving a series of suspicious suicides of local cops, that may or may not be murders. What the people of Bearkill don’t know is that she has ulterior motives for moving there: she’s on a personal mission to find her long lost niece.

Sadly as much as I had high hopes for this female fronted story, it ended up not measuring to my expectations. Don’t get me wrong, it was not a bad book, but it lacked that oomph to make it one of those unputdownable and unforgettable stories. It was an OK read, nothing else.

It started OK. The first few chapters are a good intro so you can get to know the weird people of Bearkill. By the way, the town’s name gets a hi5. Great name for a god forsaken town. Anyway, like I said, you get to know the characters in the beginning. Although to tell you the truth, there was something about the writing that didn’t quite click with me in the first couple of chapters. Regardless of my initial impression, I kept reading in hopes that the thrills would keep me off my seat soon.

I kept reading and after the first quarter of the story there were still no thrills, only a bunch of weird characters whose relationship to the murders was still a mystery to me.

Half-way through, just when I thought the story couldn’t lack more spice it twisted into things that didn’t make sense. I kept hoping to be thrilled but at that point I wasn’t thrilled at all, just confused. And as the story progressed, I wasn’t fond of the sudden story-line changes. Once I was getting the hang of a story-line it changed into another one.

I kept waiting for the thrills, suspense and mystery of and I quote: “a showdown that could leave the deep, driven snow stained blood red”, but that never happened. It turned out to be a predictable story in the end. And that last chapter felt like a terribly long afterword. I tried to bond with Lizzie Snow, or any of the supporting characters but I never could. Lizzie was a good character, the premise is good, but she lacks that kick-ass, bad-ass, witty, attitude in my opinion. I hope she gets it in her next books, which in the meantime I’m not sure I’ll read. Oh and before I forget, there was a love triangle in the middle of all this. But the love story also was predictable and lacked that oomph to keep me interested.

I was glad when I finally ended reading this book. Like I said in the beginning, Winter at the Door is not a bad book. In fact there are some rave reviews about it out there. It just didn’t do it for me. But feel free to check it out as well as the second installment in the Lizzie Snow series which will come out in 2016.

NewWords Button by Bloggeretterized

  • Hackmatack. noun. A native cone-bearing tree that can be found across a wide portion of the northern United States.
  • Foist. verb. Impose an unwelcome or unnecessary person or thing on.
  • Behemoth. noun. Something enormous, huge or monstrous.
  • Yokel. noun. An uneducated and unsophisticated person from the countryside.
  • Hazmat. noun. a piece of personal protective equipment that consists of an impermeable whole-body garment worn as protection against hazardous materials.
  • Haggard. adjective. Having a gaunt, wasted, or exhausted appearance, as from prolonged suffering, exertion, or anxiety; worn.


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I received an Electronic copy of this book but was not financially compensated in any way nor obliged to review. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my personal experience while reading it. This post contains affiliate links as stated in my disclosure policy.