Under the Ice by Rachael Blok was my top read of 2018. I absolutely loved it and still think about the characters from it today. Rachael Blok stops by today with a wee interview.
Under the Ice by RachAel Blok
It is the week before Christmas and the cathedral city of St Albans is blanketed by snow. But beneath the festive lights, darkness is stirring. The frozen body of a young girl is discovered by the ice-covered lake.
The police scramble for clues. A local woman, Jenny, has had visions of what happened the night of the murder. But Jenny is an exhausted new mother, whose midnight wanderings pull her ever closer to the lake. Can Jenny be trusted? What does she really know?
Then another girl goes missing, and the community unravels. Neighbour turns against neighbour, and Jenny has no idea who to believe. As Christmas Eve approaches, Jenny discovers a secret about her past and why she could be key to everything…
PRAISE FOR UNDER THE ICE:
‘Twisty, atmospheric and haunting … I devoured this thriller in one tense sitting’ Erin Kelly.
‘An outstanding debut, so atmospheric it made me literally shiver’ Angela Clarke.
‘A fantastically evocative book that twists you expertly up in the world of its vivid characters, making you feel the unfolding plot blow by blow’ Gytha Lodge.
‘Packed with atmosphere, suspense and a cold that chills the heart. Under the Ice announces Rachael Blok as an exciting new voice in crime fiction‘ Lesley Thomson.
‘A lyrical, haunting thriller that’s impossible to put down … Under the Ice will get under your skin’ J.S. Monroe.
Rachael Blok grew up in Durham and studied Literature at Warwick University. She taught English at a London comprehensive and is now a full-time writer, living in Hertfordshire with her husband and children. Under the Ice is her first novel.
Can you tell us a little bit about your book?
Under the Ice is a wintry crime thriller about a young mother who is drawn inexplicably towards the lake near her home, and feels involved in the murder of a girl, although she doesn’t know why. She wonders if she is losing her grip on reality, or is possibly being haunted? It is up the Dutch detective, DCI Jansen, to try to get to the bottom of the crime. It’s a claustrophobic murder mystery.
Who would your book be perfect for?
The book would be perfect for someone who enjoys psychological thrillers or crime novels. It’s set in a snow-bound, small English city. It explores early motherhood as well as exploring the darker side of the community.
Did you have a favourite character to write?
Writing Jenny’s character was a pleasure, almost cathartic! I found the first few weeks of motherhood a huge shock – as many women do. I started the book when my child was very small, and the transition from full-time work to full-time motherhood took some getting used to, and was fresh in my mind.
What inspired you to the write the book?
St Albans is a beautiful Cathedral city and when covered in snow has a timeless quality. It seemed the perfect place to hide a killer beneath the veneer of respectability.
Can you share with us a photo from 2018 that meant something special to you?
This photo of Under The Ice in the window of Waterstones next to Normal People, by Sally Rooney, was a huge moment. My first window photo!
What has been your proudest bookish moment?
There have been a few, but signing my first hardback that someone had bought was a big deal!
Do you have any questions for your readers?
I’m always very interested in the responses to Under The Ice. Some people really like Jenny; others are drawn to Maarten Jansen. I really enjoy hearing from readers and all their various reactions. I love hearing why they respond both characters in the way they do.
What is your favourite read of your whole life and why?
Middlemarch, by George Elliot. There is so much to say about this book I can’t do it in a few sentences, but if you haven’t read it, I can’t recommend it enough. Stunning.
What are you working on now?
I signed a two-book deal and I’ve just submitted the manuscript for the second book to my editor. DCI Maarten Jansen is investigating again!
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