Killer Nashville Book of the Day

Ice Cold by Andrea Maria Schenkel / Reviewed by Kelly Saderholm

Purchase Ice Cold or read other reviews through Killer Nashville’s affiliate,*


Ice Cold by Andrea Maria Schenkel (Quercus) is short, dark, and haunting. Set against the backdrop of 1939 Germany, Ice Cold is the intertwining story of a serial killer, identified on the first page as Josef Kalteis, and the young, naively confident Kathie who is desperate to escape small village life and seek her fortune in Munich.

This is an unusual novel. The story is told through a collage of character viewpoints, including police transcripts and interviews as they work the case, mixed with internal monologue of Josef Kalteis, and the not quite as intimate narration of Kathie’s journey from her village to the bright-lights and seedy dark corners of Munich. In the hands of a less skilled writer, this would be a jumbled mess, but Schenkel handles it beautifully. The short sections, often just a page or two, move the story along quickly, and the interweaving of different character’s viewpoints builds tension so that this book is difficult to put town.

The writing is gorgeous, but quite dark. There are some disturbing graphic scenes, which one would expect from a story about a serial killer, but they are not at all gratuitous. The subject and tone place the novel in the mystery genre, but the style and structure are more literary. This is not an escapist tale, but rather a thoughtful, haunting one. I read the book in one rainy afternoon, and then, after several days, went back and read parts of it again.

Schenkel has written six novels, (her sixth novel will be released in the Fall of 2015). Only her first two novels,The Murder Farm and Ice Cold have been published in the United States, both by Quercus.

Kelly Saderholm has written, blogged and lectured about aspects of the mystery novel.  She is currently shifting from writing about mystery fiction to writing actual mystery fiction and is working on a novel, as well as a non-fiction book dealing with Folklore in the American South.  She lives in South Central Kentucky with her family and feline office assistants.

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