Girl in Snow

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Pub Date 11 Jan 2018 | Archive Date 11 Jan 2018


As featured on Simon Mayo's BBC Radio 2 Book Club. 'Girl in Snow is a perfectly-paced and tautly-plotted thriller.' Paul Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train. Who are you when no one is watching? When beloved high school student Lucinda Hayes is found murdered, no one in her sleepy Colorado suburb is untouched – not the boy who loved her too much; not the girl who wanted her perfect life; not the police officer assigned to investigate. In the aftermath of the tragedy, these three unforgettable characters – Cameron, Jade, and Russ – must each confront their darkest secrets in an effort to find solace, the truth, or both. In crystalline prose, Danya Kukafka explores the razor-sharp line between love and obsession, between watching and seeing, between reality and memory. Intoxicating and emotionally intense, Girl in Snow is a gripping debut novel that will linger long after the final page is turned. Shortlisted for the 2018 CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger. Shortlisted for Hearst's Big Book Award 2018.

As featured on Simon Mayo's BBC Radio 2 Book Club. 'Girl in Snow is a perfectly-paced and tautly-plotted thriller.' Paul Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train. Who are you when no one is...

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ISBN 9781509829934
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Featured Reviews

a story about a young girl who is murdered and the lives of her and her friends and peers. Very creepy at times with an unexpected twist. Relationships between people very well observed

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I thought this book was brilliant – I read it in two days because I was enjoying it so much. The characters were multi-faceted and each had their own flaws and redeeming qualities. The plot was perfectly paced and kept doling out more and more backstory as well as revealing the details of the crime and its eventual conclusion. It wasn’t your average whodunnit; the story had real heart behind it, and it was almost more of a character study than a crime/thriller – some people may think that’s not good, but to me it seems intentional, and very good indeed. It was heartbreakingly sad in all the right places, not so much that it ruined the book, but enough to tug at your heart when you realised what was happening. The ending was perfect – the killer had been hinted at, in such a subtle way that it was still a surprise, but not so little that it seemed out of the blue. It is a perfectly balanced book in many ways, with superb writing and a story and characters you really care about. I can’t fault it.

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A spine chilling, nerve wrecking debut novel that will leave you on the edge of your seat and guessing what is going on right until the end. I can’t wait to see what Danya is going to write next. Because if this book is anything to go by. It’s going to be epic.

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Lucinda Hayes, high school student, has been found murdered and her small Colorado town is rocked by the death. This story is told by three people, Cameron Whitley, the boy who loved her too much, Jaden, the girl who couldn’t stand Lucinda and Detective Russ Fletcher, the man tasked with finding the teen’s killer. There is a lot of detail about the tree people who have intersected in the life and death of Lucinda Hayes, so the narrative is a little slower than traditional thrillers. But this is still an intriguing portrait of what goes on in a small town after a tragedy

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This a dense character driven mystery set in Broomsville, a small town on the outskirts of Denver, Colorado. A 15 year old popular student at Jefferson High School, Lucinda Hayes is discovered murdered, coated in snow. This is less crime fiction, more an insightful look at the repercussions of the death on the people of a small town. We never really get to know Lucinda herself, only how she is perceived through the eyes of others, and opinions of her differ substantially. There a a number of suspects with a motive to kill her from school janitor, Ivan and Cameron. There are short chapters that switch from the perspectives of outsiders Cameron, Jade and Detective Russ Fletcher, all interested in finding out what happened to Lucinda. Cameron Whitely is a confused, lonely, anxious, odd and troubled student, he is fixated on Lucinda, believing himself to be in love with her with countless sketches of her. Others see him as obsessive and observe what they believe is stalking behaviour. His father, Lee, ran out years ago, and used to be a former police partner of Russ. Cameron's memory is hazy about where he was when Lucinda died, he worries that he could have carried out the killing. Russ ruminates about the nature of his long ago relationship with Lee. Russ's marriage is disintegrating, and he thinks Ivan, his brother-in-law, an ex-con, is responsible for the murder. Friendless, fat, but courageous Jade Dixon-Burns loathed Lucinda, she had everything Jade wanted, including the boy she is interested in. Her homelife leaves a lot to be desired, and Jade wonders if the spell she had cast to rid herself of Lucinda is the reason for the murder. In the story, Jade expresses how she feels things should work out in the form of a script. The revelation of Lucinda's killer takes second place to the lives affected by her death. This is not a book for those looking for a fast paced crime thriller, it is far too slow paced. This is for those who like a look at the layers of darkness that underly small town living and the unsettled and disturbed characters facing disillusion, disappointment and broken lives. Kukafta has a gift in exposing the rich interior lives of the characters, offering an in depth look at the misfits at the centre of the novel, who find Broomsville reluctant to accommodate them. This is a well written story with beautiful descriptions, that is not really interested in being plot driven. If you are interested in complexity in your reading, with a focus on relationships, then you are likely to enjoy this. Many thanks to Pan Macmillan for an ARC.

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Winter in a Broomsville, Colorado and popular high school student, Lucinda Hayes is found dead in the school playground. She has a gash on her head and her neck is broken. As shock waves ripple through the town, the question every wants to know, is who killed her. As the town tries to come to terms with the crime, its effect on three of its inhabitants is both deep and profound. Cameron Whitley, product of a broken home, his father a disgraced police officer long gone leaving him in the care of his mother is devastated by her murder. Lucinda was the love of his life though they had rarely spoken, but she knew and so did the town that Cameron watched her, stalking her movements.  As suspicions of his guilt grow so does the intensity and erraticness of his behaviour. Jade Dixon-Burns, hated Lucinda for taking away good things in her life, wishing Lucinda dead. Was she to blame for an illfated wish come true? Russ Fletcher is a local police officer called in to help solve Lucinda's murder, ex partner of Cameron's dad forced to confront his past whilst keeping his promise to look after Cameron. This is not your straightforward crime novel, it is much more and certainly goes deeper  than that. Girl in Snow is totally character driven, told in alternating chapters from each of the characters perspectives. What effect did the murder have on each individual, how do they reconcile their feelings and did one of them commit murder? Kukafka's characters are complicated and total misfits, unaccepted by community in which they live. I was particularly drawn to Cameron, this young teenager struggling to make sense of what is happening around him, his emotions and thoughts all over the place. I found myself questioning his innocence or guilt throughout the novel, whilst feeling sorry for him, wishing someone would reach out and help him. Jade was totally different, your classic goth, overweight, and a victim of an abusive, uncaring mother. Kukafka was brilliant at using her to show how hard it is to be different from your peer group and to not want to conform to the norm. I especially liked the the way Jade's thoughts and story were told as as if she were in a screen play, perhaps the only way Jade could understand and make sense of her circumstances and feelings. Russ, is important to the story, but I felt somewhat secondary to Cameron and Jade. Russ's story was more about the secrets that dwelt in his past, his marriage and his desire for a better future. Kukafka's writing is brilliant, the characters emotions and conflict shining through. It is also brilliant at showing the narrow mindedness of a small town, how we are too quick to judge and accuse without looking below the surface. I did guess who the murderer was and it is not a huge surprise, but it is not the objective of the novel to merely solve the crime but more about how we get there, how the characters evolve and confront their inner demons. Girl In Snow is not fast paced and it may not suit some readers, but it is superbly written, and deserves to be hugely successful.. It would make a great Netflix series!

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