Jenny Milchman's Cover of Snow

With winter at its height, it is a perfect time to curl up on a couch and read a seasonal mystery novel. Jenny Milchman’s first psychological thriller (see my post on psychological thrillers) is, as Library Journal points out, “a chillingly good mystery thriller that quickly picks up momentum and spirals into a whirling avalanche of secrets, danger, and suspense” (Todd 2012, 80). Cover of Snow is an amazing debut novel. Milchman tells us, “It took me eleven years to sell my ‘first’ novel, and another twenty months after that for it to come out. Almost thirteen years.” It has been worth the wait.

The story is set in the Adirondack Mountains and begins with Jenny waking up to unusual sensations. Her limbs feel strangely heavy and her mind unusually lethargic (she discovers later that she had been drugged). Jenny wonders where her husband is (she later finds him hanging from a noose). Brendan has been the love of her life, a dedicated member of the Wedeskyallian police force. Jenny instinctively knows that Brendan would never have committed suicide. A newcomer to this isolated Adirondack community, Jenny starts asking questions that put her life in serious danger.

A “quietly unnerving novel” is the way the New York Times describes Cover of Snow. Jenny becomes increasingly suspicious of the people around her, and in particular of her husband’s colleagues on the police force. She soon realizes that she cannot trust anyone. “Milchman makes the reader feel the chill right down to their bones,” Kirkus Reviews observes.

What is also especially memorable is Milchman’s use of awe-inspiring scenery. The wintry storms, treacherous mountain roads, and isolated setting are integral to the plot and key to character’s psyches. As Marilyn Stasio points out, Milchman has “a painterly gift for converting frozen feelings into scenes of a forbidding winter landscape.”

Anyone who loves a thriller with a gripping plot and ominous atmosphere will thoroughly enjoy Cover of Snow.

Chestnut, Mary Todd. “Cover of Snow.” Library Journal 127, no 20 (2012): 80.

Milchman, Jenny. Cover of Snow. New York: Ballantine, 2013.