3 out of 4 stars
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As part of his research study, Adam, a student at Stanford University, visits a Holocaust museum and finds a letter that was misplaced. In this letter, there are details about a critical Nazi operation that took place during World War II. At that time, an Allied ship carrying important war materials unloaded its cargo in California, where it was intercepted by German operatives. Shortly after Adam returns from Israel with this information, he suddenly disappears. Detective Vince Nagy is hired by the young man’s parents to find him. Adam’s strange behavior in the days before his disappearance is troubling, and mysterious clues left on a thumb drive seem to indicate that he is in danger. What Vince and the FBI uncover as part of the investigation is nothing short of shocking; it seems a sinister group of people will stop at nothing to protect their interests and keep their secrets.
Sierra Ice follows law enforcement as they look for the missing college student. The story begins during the 1940s as a ship leaves Cape Town, South Africa for California. This historical context is one thing I really liked about the book. There are a plethora of books about the Second World War, but this one centers on a topic I have not read about before. Author Larry Nelson gives ample descriptions of the treacherous navigation required of Allied naval forces across the Atlantic Ocean as German U-boats lie in wait below the surface. He also describes the details of wartime operations in a straightforward and engaging manner. There is quite a bit of dialogue between the characters and limited character development, but this is to be expected in a plot-driven story that centers on international conflict.
I also enjoyed the detail in the setting. As Vince and Sharon dine in a restaurant, the Vietnamese cuisine is described in tantalizing detail; anyone who has had those dishes will relate to the “sweet and savory ginger grapefruit sauce” that top vermicelli noodles. In another scene, a cafe serves as a “running history lesson” in its decor of mounted animal chandeliers and ski paraphernalia. Such detail is sprinkled in every chapter, gives the story much more depth, and is quite the sensory experience.
Although the storyline is engaging, there are some errors in the writing. In some instances, the narrative changes abruptly, and there are other minor errors. None of these were particularly distracting, but there were many of them. Other than this, I have nothing negative to say about the book and award it three out of four stars for its gripping storyline. Had there been fewer errors, I would have given Sierra Ice a perfect rating for its captivating plot and compelling descriptions.
This story would be enjoyed by readers who are interested in history, particularly the World War II era. The detailed explanations of military operations and the collaboration among nations in the war effort will be interesting to them. Readers who enjoy a good mystery would also enjoy this book, as would those who delight in a lot of sensory detail. There is some profanity, so it may not be suitable for younger readers. In conclusion, I heartily enjoyed this read. Its plot and relevance to historical events is satisfying, realistic, and thought-provoking.
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