Friday, 16 December 2011

Black Ice by Anne Stuart

Title: Black Ice
Author: Anne Stuart
Series: Ice (book #1)
Next in series: Cold As Ice

My rating: 3.5 Stars

Synopsis: Chloe Underwood is an underpaid translator living in Paris who wishes for a little excitement in her life. When she is offered the opportunity of a lifetime to translate a business meeting, Chloe soon realizes that one should be careful of what they wish for as the businessmen turn out to be deadly arms dealers, and she is forced to go on the run with a dangerous yet seductive stranger who may or may not kill her at any moment.

Review: A good premise that has a James Bond feel to it. The characters are interesting but the execution is poor.

Although Sebastian is a ruthless and sadistic anti-hero, you cannot stop yourself from falling in love with him in the same way that Chloe does. Chloe is exceedingly naïve, which may turn some readers off but for me her naiveté strikes just the right cord. Nevertheless, it is not clear why he falls in love with her and their relationship is far-fetched. Yes, they have great chemistry, but is that really true love?

The plot is good but is implausible and unrealistic at times. What self-respecting arms dealer would allow a complete stranger in on a deal? The story also focuses on some dark and sinister issues such as torture and so-called good guys crossing the line because the “ends justify the means”.

The main problem with this book is the writing, which is choppy and has sudden transitions that make it difficult to follow the sequence of events. Moreover, the ending is very abrupt and the reader is left with an unsatisfied feeling. As this is the first book in a series, perhaps we will learn more about Chloe and Sebastian’s relationship in the next installment.

Despite the improbable plot elements and the writing issues, I've heard such great things about the rest of the series and have decided to give it a chance. So I will be reading the next book.


  1. John Michael Cummings22 December 2011 at 13:31

    re: book review request by award-winning author

    Dear Lauren,

    I'm an award-winning author with a new book of fiction out this fall. Ugly To Start With is a series of thirteen interrelated stories about childhood published by West Virginia University Press.

    Can I interest you in reviewing it?

    If you write me back at, I can email you a PDF of my book. If you require a bound copy, please ask, and I will forward your reply to my publisher. Or you can write directly to Abby Freeland at:

    My publisher, I should add, can also offer your readers a free excerpt of my book through a link from your blog to my publisher's website:

    Here’s what Jacob Appel, celebrated author of
    Dyads and The Vermin Episode, says about my new collection: "In Ugly to Start With, set in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, Cummings tackles the challenges of boyhood adventure and family conflict in a taut, crystalline style that captures the triumphs and tribulations of small-town life. He has a gift for transcending the particular experiences to his characters to capture the universal truths of human affection and suffering--emotional truths that the members of his audience will recognize from their own experiences of childhood and adolescence.”

    My short stories have appeared in more than seventy-five literary journals, including North American Review, The Kenyon Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and The Chattahoochee Review. Twice I have been nominated for The Pushcart Prize. My short story "The Scratchboard Project" received an honorable mention in The Best American Short Stories 2007.

    I am also the author of the nationally acclaimed coming-of-age novel The Night I Freed John Brown (Philomel Books, Penguin Group, 2009), winner of The Paterson Prize for Books for Young Readers (Grades 7-12) and one of ten books recommended by USA TODAY.

    For more information about me, please visit:

    Thank you very much, and I look forward to hearing back from you.


    John Michael Cummings