Girl In Ice


Erica Ferencik


Mystery / Thriller


Date Reviewed:

November 8, 2022

checked out Girl In Ice because it got a starred review in Bookpage's monthly column on New Mysteries and Thrillers. The premise sounded intriguing - a team in Greenland has discovered a young girl frozen in the glacier, yet when thawed out, the young girl comes alive! Unfortunately, the young girl speaks in a language that is unrecognizable to the modern Inuit inhabitants of Greenland. The novel's protagonist, Val Chesterfield, is a master of archaic northern European languages? Would Val fly to Greenland and find away to communicate with this unexpectedly-alive girl?

I am not fond of characters that need to use drugs and alcohol to face the world. This makes Val Chesterfield a less sympathetic protagonist. Also, I was not fond of Ferencik's continuous attempts to create an atmosphere of menace - everything Val looks at causes her fear - a shed full of machines is somehow transformed into a scary shop of potential horror. A routine flight to Greenland is frightening. Jeanne teaching Val to drive a snowcat across the open landscape in good weather is a hair-raising experience. Although it is not spelled out anywhere, presumably Val suffers from some kind of anxiety disorder? Ferencik's paints an atmosphere of fear where there is no threat, and ultimately it undermines the intended effect. If every gesture by Wyatt carries hidden meaning, if every glance from Jeanne is freighted with hidden significance, ultimately none of builds the desired tension on the part of the reader.

Val had a twin brother, Andy, who became a climatologist and was assigned to the remote Greenland research station where Val is now headed. Unfortunately, Andy is dead - he froze to death when he ventured outside the hut wearing just his underwear. Was it really suicide - or was Andy murdered?

When Val gets to the research station, she meets the two researchers who were there when Andy died - Wyatt and Jeanne. They show her Odin - a white arctic mouse. Wyatt claims that Odin was frozen solid, but now he looks like a perfectly healthy mouse. How is this possible? It is a mystery no one understands.

Val meets the young girl, Sigrid, whom Wyatt and Jeanne rescued from the glacier. She is only about eight years old, and clearly frightened and frustrated by her inability to communicate. Val doesn't recognize the words that Sigrid says, they are not like any language she can decipher. Wyatt and Jeanne ride out in the snowcat with Val to show her the crevasse where Sigrid was found frozen. How is it possible that she is now alive?

Val decides that whatever progress she makes in communicating with Sigrid will remain hidden from Wyatt. Why Val decides this is a good plan did not make sense to me.

I turned the pages quickly enough (the hardback edition is 291 pages), interested to find out what happen next. But when I got the end and all the mysteries were explained, I was unhappy with the plot, as I will explain in the spoilers section. I wish Ferencik and her editor(s) had invested more thought about Girl in Ice's plot points; I will not be reading any more books by Ferencik.