Saturday, December 28, 2013

Winter Chill by Joanne Fluke

I like reading the Hannah Swensen mysteries. I saw this one at the library and thought I will like it and I did! It started out as a different story than how it ended! This story was dark and chilling.  Dan and his little girl Laura were out riding a snowmobile.  They had an accident. Dan was hurt and Laura died.  Dan's wife, Marian cannot accept her child's death.  They started having problems.  Some of it was about Dan's injuries.  The doctor said Dan should be walking but his legs did not work. Can Marian and Dan be a couple again? They get back to work at the local school and then tragedy strikes again and again.  What is happening in their little town?

Summary from amazon:
The moment Marian Larsen sees the patrol car stop outside her house, she feels a shiver of foreboding. The news is even worse than she feared. Marian's husband and young daughter have been in a snowmobile crash. Dan is paralyzed and Laura is dead, her body broken on the icy ground. Friends and colleagues in Marian's Minnesota hometown rally around to try and ease her grief. But soon there are more horrible accidents. Then the rumors start-these are not coincidences at all, and someone is picking off victims one by one. As winter deepens, the search for answers will reveal a killer whose blood runs colder than the blinding snow...

Excerpt:

CHAPTER 1

"Lord, we commit unto Thee this body ... ashes to ashes, dust to dust ..." Marian shuddered, turning her face away from the small white coffin. Freshly falling snow left her face wet with the tears she could not shed. She leaned against Sally Powell's supporting arm and shut her eyes tightly. This wasn't real. It was only a dream, and she would wake soon to put on the coffee and call Laura and Dan for school.
Last night she had driven home from the hospital after hours of watching Dan in his merciful coma. As she turned past the small cemetery, she saw with horror that one section was in flames. The men at the fire department were kind. They explained haltingly, embarrassed at her ignorance. The ground was frozen; it had to be thawed before a new grave could be excavated.
In the darkness of her living room she had peered through the windowpane, watching the banked fire cast a flickering red glow on the fresh snow. She had hugged herself there in the empty house, pretending that Laura was upstairs sleeping in her yellow-curtained room, that it was all a terrible mistake. But when she looked again, the fire was still there, thawing the ground for her baby's grave.
"Hang on, Marian.... It's almost over." Sally's arm tightened around her shoulders. Tears were running down her friend's face, and Marian felt a stab of resentment. She should be the one to cry, not Sally. She had lost her baby, and Jenny was still alive. But it wasn't right to resent Sally. Her grief was real. Sally had loved Laura, too.
It popped into her mind with sudden clarity, her high school's production of Our Town. She had played the part of Rebecca, Emily's sister-in-law. The night of the performance was a revelation. These were the same friends she had shared sandwiches and class notes with. Then, in costumes and stage makeup, they were total strangers.
It was the same feeling she had now, the same sense of unreality as she faced her neighbors and coworkers. She was playing the part of a grief-stricken mother, delivering the correct lines, making the proper gestures to an audience of nameless strangers. She was incapable of honest emotion. This was merely a performance. It was not real. She was not real.
He had been aware of the voice for some time now, but he was too tired to care.
"Vital signs are normal, Doctor. Are there any further instructions?"
"Continue with the IV, and turn him once an hour. The funeral's this afternoon. Marian's coming in later. Run the blood work again, and call me immediately if there's any change."
He tried to open his eyes, but there was something heavy on his eyelids. All he could do was listen, barely breathing, as footsteps receded. There was a stabbing pain in his arm and the realization that the voices had been talking about him!
This time it worked. He opened his eyes and stared at the white-clad figure leaning over him.
"It's Joyce Meiers." The nurse leaned closer. "Just relax, Mr. Larsen. You're doing fine. I'll get the doctor."
He was in a hospital. It was clear now, the small room with white furnishings. He was in a room at the Nisswa Clinic, on the far edge of town. But what was he doing here?
"Well, well ... you finally decided to join us!" Dr. Hinkley's face swam into focus. "One more little pinprick and we'll talk ... all right?"
There was another stab in his arm, and Dan flinched. "What am I doing here? What happened?"
As he asked the questions, he knew. The snowmobile. The sudden storm. The accident. And Laura. What had happened to Laura!
"She's dead, isn't she?" His voice was slow and thick as the shot took effect. Tranquilizer. "You said something about a ... a funeral. Laura's dead."
"I'm afraid so, Dan." Dr. Hinkley reached for his hand, practiced fingers taking his pulse. "Would you like something to put you back to sleep?"
"No." Even though his voice was weak, the word was definite. "I've slept enough. How long?"
"You've been in a coma for three days." The doctor's voice was kind. "You had a nasty blow to the head, Dan. Now that you're awake, we'll do some tests."
Laura was dead. His baby was dead. Dan tried to think, but his mind was fuzzy. "Marian?" he asked. "Where's Marian?"
"She'll be here in a few hours." Dr. Hinkley released his wrist and wrote something on the chart at the foot of his bed. "Don't try to think about anything now, Dan. Just concentrate on getting well."
Was he dying? His body was numb. His legs felt like lead. He tried tentatively to move, but nothing happened.
"My legs!" Dan's eyes widened. "They're gone!"
"No ... It's all right, Dan," Dr. Hinkley said soothingly. "Your legs are fine ... nothing wrong at all. You're just experiencing some difficulty in moving, that's all. It's probably a simple blockage caused by the accident. Nothing to worry about. Now, relax and let us take care of you."
Just as panic started to set in, there was another prick in his arm and a wave of soft grayness settled down over his mind. Another shot. Don't think. It was all a bad dream.
To read more, click here.

Pages: 309
Published: 1984

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