Delighted to share with you today my review of Headline’s lead debut for 2021, Shiver by Allie Reynolds.
Released January 21st and with TV rights for a chilling drama series based on the book snapped up by the commissioners of Bodyguard, Luther and The Cry, it’s a chilling locked room mystery set in the dangerous and highly charged world of competitive snowboarding.
They don’t know what I did. And I intend to keep it that way.
How far would you go to win? Hyper-competitive people, mind games and a dangerous natural environment combine to make the must-read thriller of the year. Fans of Lucy Foley and Lisa Jewell will be gripped by spectacular debut novel Shiver.
When Milla is invited to a reunion in the French Alps resort that saw the peak of her snowboarding career, she drops everything to go. While she would rather forget the events of that winter, the invitation comes from Curtis, the one person she can’t seem to let go.
The five friends haven’t seen each other for ten years, since the disappearance of the beautiful and enigmatic Saskia. But when an icebreaker game turns menacing, they realise they don’t know who has really gathered them there and how far they will go to find the truth.
In a deserted lodge high up a mountain, the secrets of the past are about to come to light.
Shiver tells the story of 5 friends, Milla (our lone narrator), Curtis, Brent, Dale and Heather, who met 10 or so years ago when they were all, bar Heather, competitive snowboarders. This suspenseful, dual time line novel flips back and forth from present day, as they gather together for a reunion, of which none are overly enthusiastic to attend, in a remote lodge, off season, in the area of the French Alps they once all gathered, 10 years previously for the British Championships.
With chapters headed Present Day and Ten Years Ago, we go back and learn of these athletes highly competitive nature, dangerous sport and what happened to Curtis’s sister, Saskia. Soon on arriving however, they find out that it wasn’t Milla or Curtis who sent out the invites and as a deserted lodge greets them, mobiles disappear and cable cars stop running a much more threatening chill than that of the snow descends.
As we learn of the friends dynamics and past secrets, tensions back then and now increase and the present soon becomes an escape to survive.
I enjoyed reading this debut by Allie Reynolds. The past chapters moved at a good pace, the competitiveness and dynamics of the snowboarders interactions were very well written, as well as the description and feel of the book’s cold and dangerous setting. The author, being once a competitive freestyle snowboarder herself, brilliantly adds information on the sport and does a good job of conveying how dangerous it must be.
The characters are all very different, with some more likeable than others and as they meet again in present time, there is a real sense of fear with the author using the lodge to great effect in portraying the mounting tension and suspense never knowing who to trust. With the present day chapters only covering around 3 days they felt a lot slower moving than those from the past but with events speeding up considerable with the conclusion of the book.
I have read 2 other books recently, which cover a similar story line, but this was my favourite out of them all.
Many thanks to Alara at Headline for the great sprayed edge proof copy I received in exchange for an honest review.
About The Author
Allie Reynolds is a former freestyle snowboarder who spent five winters in the mountains of France, Switzerland, Austria and Canada. For those five years, snowboarding was Allie’s life. She competed in the British Championships and was once in the UK top ten. British-born from Lincoln, Allie now lives by the beach in Queensland Australia. #Shiver Twitter: @AuthorAllieR