Crime Fiction Alphabet: I is for Ice

There are some words that seem to crop up a little too often in the titles of crime fiction and thrillers. I guess I can understand why derivations of blood and death appear so frequently but Ice seems like a less obvious word to be so closely associated with the genre. What I’ve learned from the Icy crime fiction books I’ve read (or have yet to read) is that ice is often black and always cold.

The Ice Princess by Camilla Lackberg tells the story of author Erica Falck who returns to her small hometown in Sweden to take care of her parents’ house and possessions after their tragic deaths. While there, the body of her childhood friend Alex is discovered in the bathtub. Her death is originally thought to be a suicide but first Alex’s parents then the police realise there is something not right about the death. Ice in this instance refers to the personality of one of the characters in the book.

Fire and Ice by Dana Stabenow is a book I haven’t yet read but is awaiting me on my eReader. I can’t tell from the blurb what Ice might be referring to (aside from the obvious Alaskan setting that is): “Newenham, Alaska, is a long way from the big-city comforts of Anchorage, where Sergeant Liam Campbell was an up-and-coming state trooper with everything going his way. But that was before his life unraveled…before five people died on his watch and a drunk driver killed his son and put his wife into a coma. Transferred in disgrace to this rough-and-tumble fishing town on the shores of Bristol Bay, Liam knows Newenham is the end of the line. It’s also his last shot at getting his life back.. “But he’s about to come in for a very rough landing. Stepping onto the airstrip at Newenham, Liam walks into a crime scene: a dead body torn apart by the propeller of a Piper Super Cub. As if that isn’t enough of a welcome, the woman bending over the corpse is Wyanet Chouinard, the only woman Liam ever truly loved – and soon to be his prime”.

Leah Giarratano’s Black Ice sees the heroine of the series doing undercover work on Sydney’s drug scene while a young woman is released from prison, where she endured a sentence for a drug crime she did not commit. Less of a police procedural and more of a ‘whydunnit’ than Giarratano’s other books, Black Ice is a fascinating character study and a look at a world completely foreign to me.

Black Ice by Matt Dickinson is a very different book despite having the same title. I read it for last year’s Global Reading Challenge which required the reading of books set in Antarctica and it involves an attempt by two men to become the first to cross Antarctica at its widest point on foot. When their attempt goes awry the team at a small research base 500 kilometres away have to cross the treacherous ice to rescue the explorers.

Matthew Riley’s Ice Station also takes place in Antarctica and is one of Reilly’s Shane ‘Scarecrow’ Schofield thrillers. At a scientific research station a discovery is made underneath the ice of what appears to be a UFO and the Americans and the French duke it out for ownership and bragging rights.

And in the third installment of black ice we have Stan Jones’ White Sky, Black Ice which is the first book in the Nathan Active series. It’s also awaiting me on my eReader and the blurb says it will tell me the tale of “Trooper Nathan Active, child of a fifteen-year-old unmarried Inupiat Eskimo girl, was given up for adoption and raised in Anchorage, where he graduated from the university. Now that he has been posted to his remote birth village, Chukchi, he longs to return to civilization. Before that happens, he is confronted with atypical suicides. Eskimos are notoriously at risk for self-slaughter, but never has one man after another shot himself in the Adam’s apple. Can a shaman’s curse really be at work?”

Have you read any crime fiction featuring the word Ice? Are there other words that appear with alarming regularly in your book titles?

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7 Responses to Crime Fiction Alphabet: I is for Ice

  1. Dorte H says:

    I still think The Ice Princess is one of Läckberg´s best stories, but my absolute favourite ´ice story´ is Minette Walters´ The Ice House. You should read that one – a five-star debut with some great female characters (she has written other fine novels, but never any I enjoyed quite as much as that one).

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  2. Bernadette – What a creative choice for “I!” And you’ve reminded me of some good novels! I agree with Dorte that The Ice House is excellent. And then there’s Michael Connelly’s The Black Ice, which I think is a terrific book. Interesting how a word like that will creep into titles…

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  3. Maxine says:

    Ice Station Zebra (Alistair Maclean) is a bit similar to one of your examples. And the movie Ice Cold in Alex was not a crime but a war story. I must try harder! Actually the series of novels planned by Michael Ridpath set in Iceland apparently goes under the generic title “Fire and Ice” but he has only written one so far. The Ice Princess is the title of a (not very good!) video my daughters watched endlessly when young – a skating remake of Cindarella starring a famous German skater….

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  4. Kerrie says:

    Thanks for this contribution to the CFA Bernadette. I have added it to Mr. Linky. It illustrates all the meanings of “ice” too. In my database I also have ICE MOON by Jan Costin Wagner, and BLOOD & ICE by Robert Masello.

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  5. Maxine says:

    Ah, how could I have forgotten Ice Moon, such a good book? Well done, Kerrie!

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  6. Keishon says:

    Oh, I enjoyed the Liam Campbell series by Dana Stabenow. Very much so that I bought them all in hardcover. I bought the ebook versions and plan to reread them and review them. I can’t wait to see what you think if you read it.

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