In S.C. Sterling’s immersive thriller, The Fear of Winter, a father resumes the search for his missing daughter after the case of her disappearance goes cold.
One December evening, Tom Floyd’s daughter, Megan, disappeared after leaving her job in Fraser, Colorado. A year later, the police still need leads, and the mystery remains unsolved. Desperate for answers, Tom hires a private investigator to find and bring his daughter home and hopefully repair his marriage, as Megan’s absence has left Tom and his wife, Lisa, on rocky ground; Tom doesn’t want to give up looking for Megan, while Lisa doubts she’ll be found alive and feels they should move on.
Former detective Marshall York and his assistant Hannah Jacobs are eager to help solve the case. Each has their reasons for wanting to find Megan. Marshall lives with the guilt of failing to save a missing child, and Hannah, unable to find her sister’s killer, is still struggling to solve the mystery –something she feels disqualifies her as a P.I.
The trio works different ends of the case, hoping to find clues to Megan’s whereabouts. The investigation reveals that Megan led a double life, and they all work against an invisible, disruptive force—Megan’s murderer—to find out where she is.
The Fear of Winter is an effective and plausible thriller. The novel reveals the potential killer’s identity early on; rather than puzzling over whodunit, readers will be engrossed by the thrill of the why.
Sterling delivers multiple points of view. Unfortunately, they aren’t all valuable; for instance, a flashback scene told from the viewpoint of a serial killer named Kevin Strand in the midst of a kidnapping has nothing to do with Megan’s disappearance; its inclusion feels superfluous. Streamlining the narrative would strengthen the book’s appeal.
Still, that’s a minor distraction. Readers searching for a page-turner are bound to enjoy Sterling’s thriller.
Also available as an ebook.