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VINE VOICEon March 1, 2007
True crime writer Gregg Olsen has stood out in that crowded field with meticulously researched and adeptly written accounts of crimes, criminals, and their victims. His strength in this genre, and what set him apart from his true crime peers, was his assured voice and his empathy for the people he was writing about. Good or bad, he made you care enough to loathe or love.

Now, Olsen shifts gears and sets his sights on writing suspense fiction, and if A WICKED SNOW is any indication, the shift is an unqualified success. Olsen's true crime background serves him well in getting the details right in his story of a haunted CSI (who was a childhood victim that narrowly escaped her serial-killing mother) and the challenges she faces in her work and in her life, as old nightmares seem to be being resurrected to torture her and to put her own life, and the lives of those she loves, in jeopardy.

A WICKED SNOW marks the debut of a gifted suspense writer, one with all the right tools for creating crime fiction that we care about: a strong voice, expert plotting, and the kind of attention to detail that puts you right into Olsen's world and doesn't release you until the very last page (and sometimes long after that--his writing haunts).
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on March 8, 2007
It reads like a true crime story, not surprising as Gregg Olsen normally writes true crime books. Very suspenseful, was unable to put it down until I finished it. Good ending too. I highly recommend this to all who like this genre.
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on March 24, 2007
Though this is Gregg's first fiction book, you'd never realize it if you were to pick it up and read it without knowing so.

Without giving away the entire plot, Hannah, devoted wife, mother & "county" (as she likes to say) investigator has been living her own personal hell since her traumatic childhood experience. Though she never has been able to live a 'normal' life, she's perhaps accomplished much more than she thought possible. Those who were there in her time of need as a child are there for her NOW, when her past comes back to reclaim her life. Also there at this time are those who are intent on making sure her nightmare never ends.

I rarely read fiction now, since discovering the true crime genre, but hope that Gregg continues with a novel every so often. It's a nice break, especially when written by someone who has the knowledge and experience to make it read like a true crime book. High 5 Gregg!
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on March 9, 2007
I'm a Civil War writer, monologues and research. That said, I'll add that in the type of writing I do, accuracy is paramount. If you make "little errors," you'll find that no one is hiring you any more, and the specialty journals don't wanna' hear from you. Not so with Gregg Olsen. He's without a doubt one of the finest, most accurate, most interesting writers I've encountered in many years. First rate characterizations, well done descriptions of the area he's writing about, interesting dialogue (that's the hardest to do!), and in summary, keep' 'em coming, Gregg! We live in the Pacific Northwest on a mountaintop tucked under the Canadian border. Your descriptions of the area are right on.
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on March 15, 2007
Gregg Olsen understands the hearts and minds of the truly wicked. For his previous True Crime books, he has researched some horrific crimes, the people who committed them, the victims and the families involved. In A WICKED SNOW, his first novel, Olsen uses the knowledge he has gleaned over the years to bring his fictional characters to life. There are plenty of twists and turns to make this a wickedly delicious read.
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on March 10, 2007
When Hannah was a young girl, she watched the inferno destroy her family barn with the pure virgin snow making quite an eerie panoramic backdrop to the yellow orange. When the blaze was finally put out and the area cooled enough to investigate, the police find numerous corpses including that of Hannah's mother whose pink halo in the snow will be inside Hannah forever The arsonist-murderer was never caught and eventually the case went as cold as the wintry night that it occurred on.

Her mother's homicide was the impetus that led to Hannah becoming a crime scene investigator though she has never worked on trying to uncover who the killer is. Now two decades later in Southern California, Hannah is married to Ethan Griffin and raising their daughter Amber together as she hides what happened that fatal day from even her loved ones. Her current assignment involves a child abuse case when a message from the grave reaches out to her forcing Hannah to begin an investigation before history repeats itself with her and perhaps even Amber being the target.

The vivid use of contrasting colors provides a powerful background to a deep psychological suspense investigative thriller. The story line is action-packed as the audience wonders whether the heroine has gone over the edge after receiving the dramatic note of "Your mom called" when she had buried that day deep inside her mind. Gregg Olsen writes a terrific tense thriller that grips the audience once Hannah realizes she must become the predator before the culprit targets her loved ones to get at her.

Harriet Klausner
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on May 30, 2012
The premise and five star ratings here drew me in, but at times I wanted to throw the book across the room in frustration. I might have actually done the tossing if I wasn't reading it on a Kindle. The manuscript cried out for better editing. Except for the main character, Hannah, the characters were thin and seemed randomly motivated. Olson's writing style was stilted and awkward in spots -- inconsistencies kept the story from flowing. A character performs an action in one paragraph, and two paragraphs later, they do it again as if for the first time. His narrative choices omit major parts of the history .... The military victims of the villain are never explored beyond establishing their dead bodies, and Hannah's spotty memory of the events never gels enough to let the reader know what her history, and guilt, are really about. In the meantime, we do learn that a coffee shop smells of bacon and Listerine. Listerine? Why was the villain so villainous, and if she was such a psychopath, how did she fool her community for the next twenty years? How did she settle down with another husband, apparently so lovingly? The ending's twist was very unsatisfying. One character -- murdered toward the end without sufficient explanation -- says to another, words to the effect that there is not always a reason why crazy people do what they do. If that is the message of this novel, then it takes a better writer to pull off that theme. In this context, it is just an excuse. A shame this compelling premise was not better executed.

Also, this Kindle version had a number of typos, to further frustrate the reading experience.
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on March 13, 2007
Author Gregg Olsen has a way with words in his thriller that focuses on the daughter of a shadowy, but clever, serial killer. His descriptions of the characters and the locations are top notch, and he has the details down on crime investigations. Hannah Griffin became a crime scene investigator even as she buried her terrifying childhood memories, but now someone is reviving them, and there are more deaths. Griffin pushes herself to find the answers, and she gets help from a retired judge and the FBI agent who originally investigated the horrors. Meanwhile, Griffin's cop husband supports her efforts and takes care of their daughter.
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on March 6, 2007
My first of Gregg Olsen's work, but it wont be the last. I got this book yesterday afternoon and couldnt put it down. You get completely involved with the characters and there is absolutely no predictability. Very suspenseful and intriguing. This is a must read for anyone who loves suspense thrillers.
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VINE VOICEon January 16, 2009
I though A WICKED SNOW was decently written, but I felt the plotline was structured in a manner which hindered the enjoyment of the storyline.

The main character in A WICKED SNOW is the prototypical "woman with a secret, tragic past" and the first two thirds of the book mainly consist of flashbacks to her horrendous childhood. While this was interesting enough to keep my interest, it deprives the present-day storyline of any real momentum or suspense. The pace doesn't really pick up until the last hundred pages, and while those pages are actually pretty exciting, it's a long, sometimes tedious, build-up to that point.

I also found many of the characters in A WICKED SNOW to be rather superficial and underdeveloped. There are a lot of supporting characters in this book (past and present) and when I found myself losing track of key names and details, I know a book just isn't capturing my interest the way it should.

Author Olsen's background is in true crime, and I appreciate the authenticity of all the forensic scenes. A WICKED SNOW is well written enough for me to try another one of Olsen's books, but this wasn't the exciting page-turner I was hoping for.
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