Shiver by Allie Reynolds

Posted On 25 January 2021

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My Five Word TL:DR Review : Wow, such an impressive debut.

ShiverI loved Shiver.  I part read and part audio listened and I can heartily recommend both versions, the audio is simply superb and I find reading both versions is such a great experience.

To my review.  This is going to be a review that doesn’t focus too much on the story itself.  Fundamentally this is a mystery and I don’t want to give anything away unwittingly so this will be short and sweet.  Basically, as the story beings we meet up with five friends as they get together for the first time in ten years.  They meet up at a ski resort in the French Alps which immediately provokes a flood of memories for our narrator Millie and, after a rather startling icebreaker it soon becomes apparent they they’ve been brought together for ulterior motives.  Ten years ago one of their (then) party disappeared mysteriously.  Now declared dead it seems that somebody is interested in finding the whys and wherefores behind this disappearance and with secrets running rife everyone is a potential suspect.

What did I love about this.  It’s a great combination of compelling mystery, superb setting and intriguingly ‘grey’ characters.

On the face of it we have five characters in the mix, Milla, Curtis, Brent, Heather, and Dale, but given the dual timeline you can add in a further two characters, Odette and Saskia.  All at their peak in terms of pro snowboarding, competition is tough, some will take risks, determined to win, others are more adept at pushing buttons and causing conflict.  I like some of the characters more than others, which I think is inevitable in this sort of story, probably my favourite was Curtis.  I enjoyed Milla’s narration and think telling the story from one pov was a really great idea.  I think including more povs would have been very messy, not to mention would add to the potential to giveaway secrets, and what really worked just hearing from Milla is that she has her own shady backstory so that even though you’re privy to her thoughts it doesn’t leave her entirely in the clear.

The setting is great in more than one way.  Firstly, the venue, which is creepily and curiously completely empty.  The cable car is mysteriously out of operation and other means of communication have also been removed.  There’s an ominous feel to such a deserted venue. it puts me in mind of the Overlook Hotel with all the long, door lined corridors.  There’s just something insidious about such a large empty place isn’t there?  That horrible feeling of somebody sneaking around, or watching you, the prickling on the back of the shoulders or the notion of seeing something out of the corner of your eye.  Basically the atmosphere and suspense is really well done and the setting adds to this tremendously.  Secondly, the outside is no more a refuge than the inside.  Freezing cold temperatures and the possibility of falling into life threatening crevasses are just two very real dangers.  Add to this a sense of rising panic and things fairly quickly start to spiral out of control.

There’s not too much more that I can add really.  I really enjoyed this.  It’s an impressive debut, smoothly written, well plotted and to be honest, gripping to the very end. Very impressive and an author that I will watch with interest.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 5 of 5 stars