Bones Under the Ice by Mary Ann Miller is, if you are a generous and patient reader, a decent mystery novel. This thriller would have been a lot better had it benefited from an editor. This would have avoided glaring writing mistakes such as “… his phone ‘317-123-4567’” or having the author hammering away (5 times) early on that the main character gave her daughter up for adoption some thirty years ago. There are also chapters in Bones Under the Ice that read like filler material that does nothing to advance the mystery and reinforce already established traits of very minor characters or serve no visible purpose. Also, good luck figuring out who said what sometimes. Click here to order from Amazon

A high schooler’s body is found in a mound of snow created by snow clearing operations. She was last seen arguing with her boyfriend after telling him she was pregnant. Two other cars were seen in the same place hers was left. Later on, another resident is killed and the town clerk has a strange fall down some stairs.. Sheriff Jhoni Laurent is slowly plugging away at the case. She is up for re-election in a few weeks and one of her deputies and the local newspaper owner want her gone.

A less patient reader will find Mary Ann Miller fails to establish any sense of urgency in finding the killer or any form of dramatic tension. Events just slowly move along at their own pace along with numerous secondary characters. A moderately perspicacious reader will figure out the killer about two thirds through Bones Under the Ice and wait for the sheriff and Miller to catch up.

All of a sudden the sheriff uncovers the killer but nothing has directly led to her doing this. It is all oblique incidents she finally put together.

The final showdown is pretty good and Miller does a good job of closure.

There is a second Jhoni Laurent mystery novel coming out late 2024. I really hope Mary Ann Miller gets someone to edit it.

Bones Under the Ice
Mary Ann Miller
Oceanview Publishing 2023
337 pages

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