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Just as The Things They Carried and Catch spoke to their generations with truth and dark humor, this brilliant first novel defines the experience of war for its era.

Review | The Ice Beneath You by Christian Bauman

Benjamin Jones, twenty-three, discharged after an army tour in Somalia, heads cross-country on a Greyhound, seeking refuge on the West Coast. He has left behind his best friend, Trevor, and Liz Ross, a female soldier with whom Jones has fallen in love. But Jones has also left behind a tragedy -- a horrible, split-second action made in Somalia -- that Trevor, Jones, and the army have implicitly agreed to forget. Alone on the streets of San Francisco, and then north on the Washington coast, Jones finds that an uneducated ex-soldier is qualified only as a peep show fantasy object or as a hired hand to a bottom-feeding smuggler and pornographer.

Table of Contents

Recurring visions of his life as a soldier gradually reveal the full truth -- and agony -- of his experience, and a reunion with Liz and a violent confrontation with Trevor bring the young soldier's journey to a wrenching conclusion -- but one not without hope. At equal turns tense, brutal, and poetic, The Ice Beneath You is a soldier's story for a time when there weren't supposed to be any more soldiers' stories.

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The Ice Beneath You by Christian Bauman (2002, Paperback)

Must redeem within 90 days. See full terms and conditions and this month's choices. He lives in New Hope, Pennsylvania.


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Hubert Selby, Jr. To help, they bring in the criminal profiler Hanne Lagerlind-Schon who was once the best but is now facing the onset of dementia. Can she overcome this, and her crumbling marriage, to help Lindgren and Olsson nail Jesper Orre?

The Ice Beneath Her

What will happen when she crosses paths with the police? Though this book is from Sweden and seems to have some of the hallmarks of a Nordic noir mystery, it also has the feel of a British or American psychological thriller. There are no chapter titles. The cover is a striking colour with a slight gradient in the pale teal-like colour, and a butterfly suggesting some kind of metamorphosis within.

Well this was a bit of a chiller!

I read this one day in the lovely sunshine but there was a real chill down the back of my neck. The famous Woodland Cemetery and the snowcapped streets of Kungsholmen! Just as well, the view in the novel was not the real image of the city in my head. For this is a dark read, violent too.

What is really clever however is the dark, slow undercurrent of something evil, something not quite right from the very beginning — a lot of twists and turns and a link to a crime from the past. And I tell you what — the ending is a humdinger. Now that is going to call for some dubious goings on right there.

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Lake Louise, Canada.