The Ice Maiden [NOOK Book]


A chance encounter with a stranger changes the life of reporter Britt Montero forever. The encounter is at Miami's morgue, where the unidentified stranger lies dead. His unusual old scars capture her curiosity-the dead man clearly had a tale to tell. This thief, who was accidentally electrocuted, may be the key that unlocks the long-sought secrets of a sensational cold murder mystery unsolved for more than fourteen years.

Sunny and Ricky, teenagers on a Christmas Eve first date,...

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The Ice Maiden

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A chance encounter with a stranger changes the life of reporter Britt Montero forever. The encounter is at Miami's morgue, where the unidentified stranger lies dead. His unusual old scars capture her curiosity-the dead man clearly had a tale to tell. This thief, who was accidentally electrocuted, may be the key that unlocks the long-sought secrets of a sensational cold murder mystery unsolved for more than fourteen years.

Sunny and Ricky, teenagers on a Christmas Eve first date, were abducted, a shocking crime that was never solved despite a gigantic manhunt, a huge reward, and an outraged community. Frustrated police called the lack of leads eerie. Unnatural. Against all the laws of homicide and human nature. Now Britt wants the story, and she isn't the only one seeking answers.

Sunny survived, the lone witness to that terrible night so long ago. But the reclusive Ice Maiden, now an artist and sculptor estranged from her wealthy family, is not talking and the killer's trail vanished long ago, like footprints in melting snow.

Cold Case Squad Sargeant Craig Burch wants the killer. But as the Miami News reporter and the veteran homicide cop investigate the old outrage, they learn that sometimes the cost of justice is too high.

When you start to turn over rocks, something ugly sometimes slithers out. Monstrous evil from the past emerges to overtake a whole new generation of innocent victims as deadly passions are reawakened and mortal fears resurface.

For Burch, whose elite unit breathes new life into cold murder cases, the investigation strikes too close to home, reigniting his own private obsessions. And Britt, in the wake of national tragedy, is haunted, both awake and asleep, by the persistent ghost of a doomed, lost girl, perhaps a warning of a new tragedy to come. Britt meets the Ice Maiden, nearly freezes to death, and then the trail heats up as the sins of the fathers begin to strike down the innocent. A stone-cold killer out of her past is stalking the Ice Maiden again. Nothing is what it seems. And the inferno is yet to come....

Edna Buchanan, a born storyteller, combines her trademark wit, grit, and tension in The Ice Maiden, a narrative alive with Miami's blistering heat and high-octane atmosphere.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Miami News reporter Britt Montero is back for her eighth exciting investigation. In The Ice Maiden, a burglar killed by a desperate store owner's booby trap gets far more attention in death than he ever had in life when old burn scars identify him as a suspect in a brutal Christmas Eve rape/murder case that's gone unsolved for 14 years. Over and above the news value of the burglar's recent deadly misadventure, Britt sees the past tragedy involving a pair of local teens as the perfect lead for the feature article that she wants to do for her paper's prestigious Sunday magazine on the Miami police's new Cold Case Squad. The squad is devoted to breathing new life into unsolved murder cases, and Britt's old friend Craig Burch is eager for another chance to solve this crime that has haunted him for years. But Burch needs more evidence to convince his boss to reopen this particular case, which is still remembered as a high-profile failure for the force. So Britt goes to work on the research end, searching the dead man's past and present for known associates who could have been his partners in crime. Since there's no statute of limitations on murder, this cold case quickly turns hot. And that means trouble for Britt…and for the surviving victim of the brutal crime, Sunny Hartley, who has become a gifted ice sculptor. Pulitzer Prize–winning crime reporter Edna Buchanan has created another captivating story of investigative journalism and justice. Sue Stone
Publishers Weekly
Buchanan's alter ego, Miami crime reporter Britt Montero, returns as the protagonist of an eighth fast-paced detective thriller (after You Only Die Twice). The Miami police's cold case squad (which investigates long-unsolved crimes) catches a break when an electrocuted burglar proves to be a vital link in solving a 14-year-old murder. Two affluent teenagers on their first date were abducted, assaulted, shot and left for dead. Despite a massive reward and a multi-state manhunt, the police were never able to find the attackers. The girl, Sunny, survived and has become a reclusive sculptress unwilling to revisit the past. But the reopening of the case attracts the attention of some who are willing to kill again, and Sunny finds herself pulled back in. As always, Buchanan packs her tale with fascinating secondary story lines, including a baby trapped in a well, a friend involved in domestic violence and Britt's on-again/off-again romance with detective Kendall McDonald. The somber shadow of September 11 hangs in the air throughout (Britt is plagued by nightmares; McDonald volunteers at Ground Zero). In addition to clever plotting, Buchanan's strong suit is once again her empathy: she always focuses on the devastated family and friends who survive each murder victim. Few will guess the final triple-twist ending of this exceptionally dark and moving entry in a series that never fails to please. Agent, Michael Condon. (Nov. 1) FYI: Buchanan recently won the George Polk Award for career achievement in journalism-in addition to an earlier Pulitzer Prize for crime reporting. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Miami News reporter Britt Montero deals with fire and ice in her latest adventure, with crackling results. The victim of a jury-rigged theft deterrent, a jewelry store burglar is found electrocuted in a heating vent. When the police discover that the dead man's torso is covered with grotesque clusters of burn scars, the Cold Case Squad immediately links the corpse to a brutal murder that has gone unsolved for the past 14 years. Two teenagers on their first date were abducted, beaten, raped, shot, and left for dead in a farmer's field. Miraculously, the girl, Sunny Hartley, survived and described the burn scars on one attacker. When the Cold Case Squad is inexplicably pulled from the case, they ask Britt to step in, unofficially. Can Britt and Sunny face the past and solve the crime even as new murders erupt, threatening to destroy both lives and reputations? Surrounded by her usual sidekicks, pets, and lovers, Britt is just as realistic and interesting as she was in You Only Die Twice. Recommended.-Rebecca House Stankowski, Purdue Univ. Calumet Lib., Hammond, IN Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
An incorrigible burglar who got a hotter welcome than he could have imagined kicks off Britt Montero’s eighth case. The Miami News reporter (You Only Die Twice, 2001, etc.) is on hand when Det. Sgt. Craig Burch ties Andre Coney, electrocuted by a perennial victim’s booby trap, to a long-ago crime of the sort Burch’s Cold Crimes Squad specializes in: the kidnapping, beating, and shooting of high-school athlete Richard Lee Chance, who died in farmer Clyde Pinder’s field, and Sunny Hartley, who miraculously survived. When Burch’s boss soft-pedals the case, Britt goes off to ask Sunny to look over a bunch of mug shots of Coney’s old pals in hopes of identifying the five men who beat and raped her and left her for dead. No way, replies the one-time victim, who’s emerged from 14 years of trauma determined to leave all that behind her--the case, her grieving family, the cops who probed her memory for evidence. Toiling as a reclusive sculptor who makes decorative ice carvings to pay the rent, Sunny wants nothing to do with Britt, Burch, or their photos--especially since gang member Ronald (Mad Dog) Stokes has promised to call on her personally the minute his latest prison sentence is up. Britt picks her way through a minefield littered with half a dozen criminal and domestic subplots, from the murder of a kindly old widow to her own romantic rivalries, to unmask a series of secrets even more horrific than Sunny Hartley remembers. A powerhouse plot fueled by keen sensitivity to the devastation unsolved crimes can wreak: a standout in this irresistible series.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061942709
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/19/2009
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 124,277
  • File size: 413 KB

Meet the Author

Edna Buchanan knows firsthand that underneath Miami's glistening facade lies a city torn by violence and muddied by corruption, where every moment a crime is waiting to happen. As a Pulitzer Prize-winning crime reporter, Buchanan has exposed the seamier sides of this sun-drenched paradise, then used her more than twenty years of experience to create a dynamic and deadly Miami that vividly comes alive in each of her novels. Especially when the city is seen through the fiercely intense eyes of a tough newspaperwoman named Britt Montero. The author of eleven books, Buchanan has spent time behind bars -- with two serial killers. She lives in Miami, Florida.
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Table of Contents

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First Chapter

Chapter One

The shoes startled me. They dangled in midair, at eye level. They were scuffed, meant for running, and they were occupied by a dead stranger who was stuck in the ceiling.

The cops were furious at the stranger.

The firefighters were irritated.

He had left them a problem: his corpse and how to extricate it. Homicide detectives, a fire department battalion chief with the personality of a pit bull, and an assistant Miami-Dade County medical examiner noisily debated how to tackle the job.

The dead man had missed a spectacular dawn. The rising sun had ignited a magnificent city of fire, its own face reflected in glassand steel-walled skyscrapers. Their flaming towers pierced a radiant blue sky, their golden glow an empty promise to shell-shocked commuters still haunted by smoldering images of carnage and death.

The fire chief insisted that the corpse, tightly wedged in an airconditioning grate, be pried free and lowered to the floor. Far more efficient, he claimed, than dragging dead weight up to the roof and then down a ladder. Three of his bravest, he pointed out, were still recovering from injuries suffered when they removed an eighthundred-pound heart patient from his tiny apartment and down three flights of stairs. He wanted his men to tug the dead man's legs from below as others exerted pressure from above.

A sweaty homicide detective disagreed. The corpse was caught at the thighs. His hips were wider and his pockets stuffed with bulky items. He would have to leave the way he arrived, through the roof of this small shop, similar to so many others along Miami's downtown fringe.

"How did it happen?" Iasked a young uniformed cop. "Was there exposed wiring?"

"It's absolutely shocking," he said, grinning at his little joke.

Hector Gomez, a small man in a well-pressed but shabby suit, did not smile. The proprietor of Gomez jewelry and Watch Repair stood stricken amid plastic and cardboard displays of cheap watches and costume jewelry, his dark eyes soulfully regarding the skinny, dangling denim-clad legs.

"He was like this when I unlocked the store this morning. I think it's the same one as last time," he confided, misery on his face, voice barely audible. "I recognize the sneakers. It was raining that night. He left footprints when he climbed over the counter."

We studied the soles of the well-worn Nikes. There was a distinctive pattern visible in the tread.

"The seventh break-in in two months," he whispered. "With times so hard, nobody is buying now. How do I make a living? How do I feed my family?"

"Well," I said, "this one won't be back."

He wasn't cheered. When I told him I was a reporter, he was pathetically eager to explain.

"First I installed an alarm; then I thought burglar bars would stop them, but they come in like cockroaches through the roof, stealing everything, even the watches here for repair. My customers want their watches back. Some threatened to sue me. I begged the city, the police, for help. I even wrote to the mayor. Twice. Write that down," he said, actually wringing his hands. "They didn't answer. Nobody did. The cops don't come anymore. My place was burglarized so many times they stopped sending anybody. They take the report over the phone. If only they had listened, this never would have happened ... "

"I'm listening now, pal," interrupted a burly curly-haired detective named Oscar Levitan. "You got my undivided attention. Okay?"

The detective also squinted at me, as though I too were a cockroach who had skittered in through the ceiling. "Britt Montero, ain't you supposed to be on the other side of that line?" A gangly, pimplyfaced public-service aide had nearly finished stringing yellow crimescene tape between light poles along the sidewalk outside.

"But ... "

"Outside," Levitan repeated, his stare hard.

"Okay, okay." His attitude irritated me. This was no major murder mystery. Like everyone, burglars have bad days. Breaking and entering is risky business. They crash through skylights and are cut by broken glass, caught by bullets, or nibbled on by Dobermans. Some thieves are exterminated along with the termites inside tented buildings. One of a pair of burglars slipped while maneuvering a heavy safe down a dark and narrow stairwell; next morning he was found crushed beneath it at the bottom. Another thief executed a perfect swan dive from a third-floor ledge. He would have successfully eluded police if he hadn't missed the pool and kissed the pavement instead. Death is an occupational hazard for thieves -- or poetic justice, depending on your point of view.

I left the shop reluctantly.

"Did anybody advise this guy of his rights?" Levitan bawled to the uniformed officers.

"You're charging him?" I asked, as the detective steered Gomez out into the harsh and unforgiving glare of the relentlessly climbing sun. "Why? The burglar was electrocuted as he broke in, right? Exposed wires or poor electrical work is only a code violation, not a crime."

"Homicide," the detective said, snapping metal cuffs around Gomez's wrists, "was still a crime, last I heard."

"Homicide? You think it was deliberate?"

Gomez's resignation, shoulders slumped as Levitan led him to a cage car, answered my question.

We spoke through the patrol car's half-open window as detectives and a crime-scene photographer scaled a ladder to the roof. Huddled in the backseat, wrists cuffed behind him, Gomez trembled as though cold, despite the scorching early-morning heat.

"Never would I hurt anybody," he swore, eyes moist. "I only wanted to shock them, to make them leave my shop alone. His voice cracked. "It was ... you know, prevención. Not to kill."

"A booby trap," I said sadly. "You built a booby trap."

He gave a weak shrug. "Nothing fancy. Only an electrical cord connected to the metal grate where they come in through the ceiling. I plug it in, that's all. I didn't think it would hurt them. Only household current, a hundred and ten-fifteen-volts. A deterrent."

The Ice Maiden. Copyright © by Edna Buchanan. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 5 of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    great crime thriller

    Miami News crime reporter Britt Montero is at the morgue where the body of a criminal lies after the felon was electrocuted while breaking into a home. That corpse would not be much more newsworthy then perhaps a line or two, but the Miami Police Cold Case Squad see a link between the dead lawbreaker and an unsolved fourteen year old homicide. Someone had abducted two teens murdering Richard Chance while leaving Sunny Hartley to die. Somehow she survived to tell her harrowing tale, but the culprits were never apprehended. Sunny has ignored her near death experience by withdrawing from society as much as possible. However, the police reopen her nightmare and the media, led by Britt take no prisoners, go into a feeding frenzy. The original assault team prefers this case remain silent even if it means killing the one that got away fourteen years ago. The Britt Montero investigations are always wonderful novels, but THE ICE MAIDEN is the best to date. This is a powerful story that is more than just an inquiry into a reopened cold case. Instead the reader observes that side as a delightful, cleverly designed subplot. However, what makes this novel a great crime thriller besides the realistic serpentine twisting climax is Sunny, a victim then and a victim now as she is a front page target of the media, the police, and the killers. Edna Buchanan is sure to receive nominations from several of the major awards for this terrific tale. Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2002

    One of Her Best

    The Ice Maiden is excellent....Britt Montero is easy to like and to root for, and the story rockets right along. My only criticism would be two gratuitous sub-plots that manage to collide at the very end for a non-surprising finale that is telegraphed several pages ahead. Otherwise, the mystery itself is a fine one - and the conclusion to THAT part of the story did surprise me.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2002


    When it comes to crime novels Buchanan's the best. After almost 20 years of covering the police beat for a Miami newspaper she knows her subject and suspects well. She's a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter with insider knowledge, and potent pen. "The Ice Maiden" is heroine Britt Montero's eighth spin, and it is a pulse pounding thriller. She's right there when Andre Coney, a would-be robber, is discovered after being electrocuted by a jewelry store booby trap. A quick thinking detective with a full memory bank ties the deceased to a 14 year-old murder case in which two teenagers on their first date were ravaged - the boy was fatally shot and the girl was raped and beaten. Britt attempts to interrogate the girl, Sunny, hoping that she might recognize any of Coney's fellow thugs as one of the men who had attacked her. Understandably, Sunny wants no part in reopening past trauma. However, the frightened young woman has no choice as others who may harm her focus on what was thought to be a cold case. As always with Buchanan, subplots flourish and fascinate while readers are propelled by surprising secrets revealed. One more winner for this whiz bang writer.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2010

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    Posted July 5, 2011

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 5 of 4 Customer Reviews

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