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Chris High books reviewed

Front cover of the book, Cold Hands by author John J. Niven

John J. Niven - Cold Hands

Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: William Heinemann

Language: English
ISBN-10: 0434019577
ISBN-13: 978-0434019571

2 Aug 2012

Following up on three novels in a completely different genre, John J. Niven has delivered with Cold Hands a debut crime fiction novel to die for.

Donnie Miller counts himself lucky. Living in a beautiful, spacious house in the wild and remote landscape of central Canada, he spends his days writing for the local newspaper, working on a film script, and acting as house-husband. After a troubled and impoverished upbringing in Scotland, he now has all he wants: a caring wife, a bright and happy son, a generous father-in-law. As the brutal northern winter begins to bite, he can sit back and enjoy life.

But his peace is soon broken. There are noises in the nearby woods, signs of some mysterious watcher. When the family dog disappears, Donnie makes a horrifying discovery. What secrets has Donnie been keeping and why does he have the terrible sense that his dream was never going to last?

John J Niven has taken what transpires to be a difficult scenario and imbued it with more tension than a zip wire thanks to some devastating descriptive prose that will have the novel’s readers scanning the pages through their fingers.

The characters and how they evolve are, without question, what truly shines in this novel, yet added to this are some of the most vivid and visceral descriptive passages to have fallen across the page this year. Particularly when the denouement arrives and the pace increases to almost impossible levels.

Cold Hands is a superb read and one that is guaranteed to have readers searching their own closets to ensure their own skeletons are safely shackled.

Chris High




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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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