One of the greatest issues with crime and thriller fiction is that, the more you read it, the harder it is to be enthralled. To be satisfied with a dark and delicious story, I need great characters, a tormenting antagonist,beautiful description, heart-racing development, and, most importantly, the need to know all the answers. Chris Mooney's The Snow Girls has all this, and more.
The Snow Girls is led by Mickey, the father of little girl Claire Fynn who disappeared eleven years ago. On the anniversary of her disappearance, investigator Darby McCormick is called in to take another look at the case. However, with the clock ticking for the crime's key suspect, the time to find answers is running out.
Mickey is such a likeable protagonist that it's impossible not to fall into his emotions as he becomes increasingly distraught and dragged down by his increasingly absent young daughter. His discourse with Darby is realistic yet emotive, and his attitudes towards Father Richard Byrne, the main suspect in the case of the child's disappearance that wintry night, are so palpable that you'll begin to believe you too know of Father Byrne.
We begin the story with Darby, and travel seamlessly between the inspector and Mickey, meeting new characters at a steady pace along the way. The narrative is similarly pleasing as it takes us up a hill of hope, and then back down again as a bombshell is dropped, over and over until we don't know if we'll ever get out of this with the answers we so crave.
The buildup of suspense is so intense it's near paralysing. Emotions are multidirectional until all threads race towards the conclusion. Whether it's a satisfying ending, however, is entirely down to you. Who is the innocent one here? Who's really the victim?
Only time, sparse and speeding as it is, will tell.
Written by Amy McLean. A copy of The Snow Girls was provided by Penguin Books for the purpose of this review.