The Bottom Line: This small town murder mystery is a must-read for fans of police procedurals.
Like most good small town murder mysteries, the core of BD Smith’s The Ice Maiden is a gifted detective beset by personal problems. Smith’s Detective Douglas Bateman, who serves with Maine’s Major Crimes Unit, confronts one tragedy after another in the line of duty, and his personal life is just as brutal. His son has been dead for a year, a victim of a freak accident, and his wife has left to move in with her sister.
But as Bateman dulls the pain with beer and football, it turns out that he’s just a phone call away from a lead that will shake up his life and the lives of everyone in Dover-Foxcroft. A body has been found near Lake Sebec, a murder victim who has been placed in the ice in a baffling manner. Together with Anne Quinn, an investigator with the County Sheriff’s Office, Bateman must look into the dark heart of the community he only thought he knew.
Much like the hit novel and TV show Broadchurch, and the works of Val MacDiarmid and Jeffrey Deaver, seemingly minor details – a seemingly harmless bag of gym equipment in the back of a car, for example – are sprinkled throughout the investigation, accumulating to create a rich tapestry of clues that makes for an active reading experience. Combined with relentless pacing, The Ice Maiden deserves a spot at or near the top of your reading list.