The Cold Road by Rick Wilber
". . . offers all the richness of character, subtlety of nuance, and devotion to storytelling that good readers always look for but all too seldom find."
- Peter Straub
Cold . . . Cold is all that Melissa O'Malley feels, growing up in the frigid expanses of rural Minnesota. The one thing keeping her warm is the talent for sorcery she inherited from her island mother, who mysteriously left when Melissa was only five. Bright, beautiful, athletic, and talented, Melissa is raised by her father, Melchior. When he brings home a dead deer, she touches it, and with electric clarity, experiences the animal's last living moments.
Melissa's childhood has been happy. She excels at academics and sports and also falls in love with Danny Finnegan, son of a local police detective. She and Danny dream of a life together after she finishes college and he completes a stint in the navy. Everything seems perfect until the news of Danny's combat death shocks the town. At Danny's funeral, a farewell touch by Melissa reveals to her and Detective Finnegan the final minutes of Danny's life.
With nothing more holding her back, Melissa changes colleges and heads to the warmth of the south. In Florida, she finds a tropical home that slowly thaws the ice of heartbreak. She meets handsome, charming Bo Palmer. After graduation, she becomes public-relations director for the Palmers' resort on Saint Kitts. But local newsman Stanley Edwards tells her of dark secrets that threaten the resort. Stanley's father disappeared many years ago, and shortly thereafter, the Palmers' resort became a success. Both Stanley and his mother, Miriam, who recognizes Melissa's talent for sorcery, begin to fear for Melissa.
Meanwhile, Melissa is drawn back north by the news that someone is brutally killing women and their daughters in Minnesota. Detective Finnegan and her father are stumped, and Melissa's talent could unlock the key to the crimes. Torn by conflicting feelings - for Bo and her new life and for her family and friends in Minnesota - Melissa wants to help. But she fears her own instincts. How will she survive the discovery of the horrible truth behind the deaths that shadow the past and threaten her future?
This taut thriller goes to extremes, and its sizzling narrative never lets up.
". . . a damn good . . . novel. Better than anything I have read in years."
- Harry Harrison