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Winter at the Door by Sarah Graves ~ Book Review (2015, mystery, #1 Lizzie Snow series)

Winter at the Door by Sarah Graves ~ Book Review (2015, mystery, #1 Lizzie Snow series)Author: Sarah Graves
Title: Winter at the Door
Series: Lizzie Snow #1
Publisher: Bantam
Pages: 273
Release Date: January 6, 2015
Genres: Mystery & Thriller

Perfect for fans of Jenny Milchman, Linda Castillo, and Lisa Gardner—the first book in a suspenseful new crime thriller series featuring the tough but haunted police chief Lizzie Snow, a big-city cop with a mission, taking on a small town with a dark side.

Moving from Boston to remote Bearkill, Maine, isn’t homicide cop Lizzie Snow’s idea of a step up. But breaking away from tragedy and personal betrayal is at least a step in the right direction. Her dead sister’s fate still torments her, as does her long-missing niece’s disappearance. Lizzie hopes to find the mysteriously vanished child here, amid the coming ice and snow. But in the Great North Woods, something darker and more dangerous than punishing winter is also bound for Bearkill.

The town is a world apart in more than distance—full of people who see everything, say little, and know more than they’ll share with an outsider. The only exceptions are the handsome state cop who once badly broke Lizzie’s heart and desperately wants another chance—and Lizzie’s new boss, sheriff Cody Chevrier, who’s counting on her years of homicide experience to help him solve his most troubling case, before it’s too late.

A rash of freak accidents and suicides has left a string of dead men—all former local cops. Now the same cruel eyes that watched them die are on Lizzie—and so is the pressure to find out what sort of monster has his hooks in this town, what his ruthless game is, and just how brutally he’ll play to win. Whatever the truth is, its twisted roots lie in the desolate backwoods of Allagash County: where the desperate disappear, the corrupt find shelter, and the innocent lose everything. It’s there that a cunning and utterly cold-blooded killer plans the fate of the helpless lives at his mercy—one of whom may be the lost child Lizzie will do anything to save. As a blizzard bears down, and Bearkill’s dark secrets claw their way to the surface, Lizzie gears up for a showdown that could leave the deep, driven snow stained blood red.
Format: eARC
Also by this author: The Girls She Left Behind
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*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.*

Winter at the Door is the first book in the Lizzie Snow series by Sarah Graves.

my review image


I’m ashamed to admit it took me a year to get around to reading this ARC. I wish I could say it’s the only one, but there are many, many more that I have yet to review. As I have said elsewhere, my mission in 2016 is to get caught up on all these past-due reviews.

Anyway, I enjoyed reading Winter at the Door.

I thought it was going to be more of a thriller, but it was really more of a mystery. That’s perfectly fine. I was still entertained from start to finish.

The book has two main story lines:

  1. Lizzie becomes a deputy in a small Maine town because she got a tip that her missing niece has been spotted in the area. So, Lizzie is searching for her niece.
  2. The sheriff wanted to hire Lizzie because she was a detective in Boston, and he wants her to investigate some suspicious murders of ex-cops So, Lizzie tries to figure out if they were murdered.

These two story lines merge, one having to do with the other.

There are also some subplots about Lizzie and her ex, Dylan, about Lizzie and a vet she meets, about Missy’s family, about a man who kept tipping over his electric wheelchair, and about Spud and his family. Everything fit together nicely, even these subplots, when it becomes clearer how they are related. There wasn’t anything in the story that didn’t need to be.

I thought the character development was one of the best aspects of the book. Also, the plot management and clue-dropping was handled well.

The pace was steady from beginning to end; it only lagged a little when the author went into too much description of the setting.

I got a little annoyed with Lizzie’s reactions to Dylan. I understood that she didn’t want to let go of past hurts, but it got kind of old every time she suspected him yet wanted his body.

If you like mysteries with just a hint of romance, you might want to give Winter at the Door a try. There’s a lot going on in the book, but I never got bored or confused. I recommend it highly.

Also in the Lizzie Snow series…
The Girls She Left Behind ~ same series as Winter at the Door


About Sarah Graves

SARAH GRAVES lives with her husband in Eastport, Maine, in the 1823 Federal-style house that helped inspire her Home Repair is Homicide books. The series and the author’s real-life experience have been featured in House & Garden and USA Today.


Jen Schaper
I am a mom of three kids, a wife, and a wannabe author. For Books That Hook, I review books, create features and discussions, design the website, and do all the administrative stuff.

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