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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fire Underneath the Ice by R.S. Natanevin

Fire Underneath the Ice by R.S. Natanevin
Publisher: Rogue Phoenix Press
Length: Short Story (93 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rated: 4 books
Reviewed By Snapdragon

The paths of Michael Hamming, poor boy turned rich, and Karyn McDonnell, heiress turned penniless, cross during the 2008 financial crisis. Michael decides to get revenge for that old grudge he has against Karyn’s late father. Karyn is in need, alone and defenseless. In total coolness, he offers to take care of her financial problems if she becomes his girlfriend. Karyn, who always liked Michael, accepts.

Karyn’s beauty and kind heart, however, conquer him, to the point that when Karyn is kidnapped, Michael takes chase, first aboard a speedboat, then riding a motorcycle to follow the clues left by the kidnappers and set her free.

As the events of October 2008 plunge the stock market into a record minimum, it is now Michael who gets in financial troubles and Karyn who goes to his rescue, trying to hide her good deed.

Fire Underneath the Ice,’ has an incredibly unusual premise; We start out thinking this is the story of Michael Elliot’s quest for love – or perhaps, more accurately – his quest for a partner and family. Then almost immediately we realize no – it’s all about revenge and something seriously freaky is about to happen.

He’s attracted by a certain woman, but underneath it all we gain an understanding that he feels somehow that he is a failure that he hadn’t yet attained that permanent match, and here he is, nearly forty. Karyn’s life doesn’t really parallel his – but oddly, her take on it does. (It’s a is this all there is to life? Sort of a feeling.) Instead of Mike going at “a relationship” in a normal sort of way – he decides to set a trap. Ok, he might have emotional scars, but let’s face it, if Karyn was my friend, or yours, we’d be screaming ‘Run!’ It’s that whole unexpected and unpredictable quality that hooks you, with Fire Underneath the Ice. Once you get a glimpse of what you think is going on --- you will not want to put this down. Hate spoilers, so I’ll say no more on plot.

Rather zippy and unusual descriptions add a clever touch throughout (love the windcatcher ears!), though Natanavin rather bluntly drops in boring bits of backstory at times, but not a lot, so it's easily forgivable. The dialogue here is what carries the story – as well as its overall incredibly unpredictable quality. Style is holding it to a 4 – but it’s a 4 with a ‘must read’ tag alongside.