Books in different genres have repeatedly shown Alaska as both picturesque and perilous. The contrasting depiction has always been a template for adding tension to any story line. A Cold War has managed to use this same template effectively.
Nina, the protagonist, was living a fairy-tale life. Engaged to America’s most popular congressman, her face is in all the magazines, newspapers and TV shows. Hoping to get a respite from the circus of attention, Nina decided to go to Alaska for a short business trip. Expecting to get some peace and quiet, Nina experienced terror instead when she was abducted for ransom. Against the backdrop of Alaskan mountains, forests, and wide, pristine land, Nina tries to study and outsmart her abductor. She holds on to every good memory that she has, pushing herself to live each day, patiently waiting for the perfect time to escape.
Right from the opening chapter, the reader gets a sense that the female characters are the strongest and focal point of the book. The steady build up of the story slowly hooks you, and you get invested in the protagonist, right until the last quarter of the book when it feels like it has turned into a different genre. With a smart, courageous and resilient heroine, a reader would expect some form of vengeance. Alan Russell did provide this, just not in a form that I was anticipating. Some readers might find it a good fit, but for me, it felt completely disjointed with the rest of the book.
Any fan of this genre will notice that A Cold War is unexpectedly mild in violence. This was a pleasant surprise, considering the plot. Still, this does not hamper the fast-paced action and general readability of the book. Overall, still a good thriller.
Neriza Billi works a regular 9-to-5 job in Stockholm where she resides with her husband. In addition to reading, she enjoys travelling and curling up with a glass of good wine.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Thomas & Mercer. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.