Book Review: Cover of Snow

cover of snowChilling to the bone.

Set in a small village nestled in the Adirondack Mountains of New York, Jenny Milchman’s debut novel, Cover of Snow, is both thrilling and unsettling.

When Nora Hamilton wakes up one morning, she discovers her husband hanging from a rope in the attic. Shocked by the suicide and numbed by grief, Nora cannot wrap her mind around it. How can a loving husband who was happy with his wife and life as a well-respected police officer kill himself? And why didn’t he leave a note?

Shortly after the funeral, clues star popping up: an unexplained prescription bottle, “a splintery snake of rope,” and a secretive hideout in her mother-in-law’s house. Determined to discover the truth behind her husband’s death, Nora enlists the aid of her sister, a reporter with a secret past, and an autistic man who speaks in rhyme.

Never really accepted by her husband’s family and friends, Nora quickly discovers she is an outcast in the tightly-knit town where the snow never seems to stop falling. Everyone from her mother-in-law to the police chief urge her to stop asking questions and move on with her life. Some of the warnings contain sinister tones: “Brendan died and I’m mad as hell, like you, but no good comes from wondering why.”

As the clues continue to unfold and more calamities and unexplained deaths occur,  Nora realizes that no one around her can be trusted. Undaunted, she continues to peel away the layers of secrecy, discovering uncomfortable truths about herself and her husband’s past. Throughout the book, Nora wonders if she ever really knew the man she married.

Jenny Milchman skillfully weaves all these strands together into an unexpected ending and, in the process, creates a heart-pounding thriller.