>Gregg Olsen’s “A Wicked Snow” is a deceptively charming psychological thriller set in the west coast. The Main character, Hannah Griffin, working for the police in LA, with her husband and daughter. During the course of the book, Hannah remembers her mother as a cruella devil-type as she tries to go about her duties dispatching justice to child abusing parents. The closer she gets to capturing the parents in a lie, the deeper off the end she goes into her own childhood memories. Soon after receiving a box of charred childhood mementos that belonged to her brothers, she finds herself reliving her worst childhood memories and chasing the ghosts of her misbegotten mother, brothers and her own past.
Gregg does a fantastic job reliving Hannah’s childhood of her home burning to the ground, her brothers killed in the fire and her mother deserting her. We aren’t beat over the head and body with details or unwanted scenery. Each word is placed with exact determination for the perfect lead. We’re lead about the story, from present to past, City to Countryside but not with the childlike trail of breadcrumbs.
The characters throughout the novel are well-developed, no cartoonish buffoons or evildoers. We never fully see the protagonist, just Hannah’s perception from childhood, which is eerily accurate. Watching her unfold her sanity is like watching eggs overboiling and drying out. Not pretty but awe-inspiring, all the same. Gregg also dispatches with the overly-sympathetic husband stereotype with Hannah’s husband, Ethan. he’s less developed but still a ‘whole’ person. The one character that feels like a stereotype (that we can all identify in our own lives) is Hannah’s coworker, Ripp (Ted Ripperton), an under-achieving, middle -aged jock-playboy that has everything handed to him on a silver platter. He’s easy to want to see walk in front of a bus.
Overall, Gregg does a great job showing Hannah’s downward spiral to search for her evil mother, uncover the truth about her brothers’ death and meet her own sanity.