John W. Dennehy’s tale of a couple looking to refurbish their farmhouse takes a cold turn, quite quickly. For one man problems begin to surface as he recognizes that his wife isn’t taking to the task at hand too well. Even worse, she seems to be changing. Her body temperature dropping, her looks fading into what could only be likened to a frozen shell of her former self. But there are more problems here than renovations or weather. Something far darker is working its way into the lives of Robert and Eliza, a seemingly happy couple.
The book moves quickly, and realistically, shouldn’t require much more than an hour or so to read. That’s a positive, the negative is the fact that there are countless opportunities for Dennehy to greatly expand on the couples’ relationship and history. As it is, we learn just enough of our characters to invest something in them, but we’re not quite able to fall in love with the couple as the reader just isn’t privy to the intricacies of the couple’s past, and, for that matter, present.
Ice Storm reads as a short story, and interestingly enough, within the books pages we learn that the story was initially tapped to appear in an anthology. As a short story, or brief novella, the book works, but as a full-fledged, completely fleshed out story, it could have been an amazing novel.
Dennehy has a straight forward style that makes for an easy read, but that’s not to say he isn’t a quality author. There are plenty of descriptive passages that pull the reader in. But again, we run into the problem of truncation. As soon as the great stuff gets moving, we’re already past that.
I’d love to see this story extended and gifted the life it deserves. It’s got a great setting, some sympathetic characters and a finale that still feels a little ambiguous. As it stands, Ice Storm is worth a read, but with an overhaul it would no doubt be a must-own work of fiction. Either way, I’ve got another novel from Dennehy handy, and it may be time to see how he handles a much larger story scope.
If you’re in for a solid quick read, order this one right here.