BLACK ICE
Jaxine Daniels


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Zumaya Publishing, Apr 2003
Reviewed by Joy Calderwood

Romantic Suspense

An attractive man is capturing and killing women who reject him. We barely have time to learn this from a frightening introductory scene, when we are plucked out of it and dropped into the life of emergency medic Jamie MacMaster. Jamie is the only woman allowed to travel on the road with professional hockey team the Seattle Storm. She is being pursued by two hockey players and a rabid hockey fan. From the time we meet them, author Jaxine Daniels has us asking about each of them, which man will turn out to be the killer who has Jamie in his sights?

To introduce them in order of rank: Starting goalie Mason Griswald. Jamieís brother Jeff warns her that Mason is a backstabber; but Mason keeps asking Jamie to go out with him until, won by his patience and devotion, she finally agrees. A.J. Charbonneau, new to the team and after Masonís job. Jeff likes A.J. a lot, but A.J. is known as a playboy with no feelings for anything but hockey. Ron, the Crazy Fan Guy, is Jamieís introduction to the dark side of fandom.

Of the three, Jamie is unbearably attracted to A.J., but there are things she canít stand about him, and she finds Mason a comforting contrast. Her twin brother Jeff, the mainstay of her life, is courting, soon to leave her. A.J. is unbearably attracted to Jamie, but there is a beautiful model after him, a woman who doesnít engage his mind and feelings, so he is free to pursue his sports ambitions. The friendship between Jamie, Jeff, and A.J. could mildly be said to have its ups and downs.

The title BLACK ICE has three different meanings that I could see, the most suspenseful being the character of the man you donít know is dangerous until youíve already skidded off the road. Into this warm bunch of competitive but supportive hockey people, author Daniels throws a cold killer. Then, using psychological patterns, she shows readers who it is, until we are left screaming, "Jamie, donít do it!" while the inevitable happens.

In addition to her convincing description of the inside world of professional hockey, Daniels has a strong feel for authentic conversation. Itís hard not to form a bond with "the boys," when theyíre talking like the people you meet and like every day. This is how the author involves the reader in the story. We quickly become as concerned about the progress of Jamieís life as anyone on the team.

My interest in hockey could best be described as "minuscule," but I couldnít put BLACK ICE down. You try reading, as I did, a rubber banded sheaf of printed-out 8"X11" uncorrected proof pages on the bus, then imagine the immersion in the story that made this possible

Apr 2003 Review Originally Published on WOR

 

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