In Winter’s Grip

“This is a novel not ony to be read, but savored.”

“Chapman’s wounded characters are multi-dimensional, her melancholic tone fits the subject matter, and her grasp of psychology offers telling insights into the reasons good people can commit horrible acts. In Winter’s Grip has a message:  yes, you can go home again, but once you do, you’ll remember why you left.”

Betty Webb, Mystery Scene magazine, spring 2011

“A fine debut for a talented writer.”

Margaret Cannon – Globe and Mail

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“The dialogue is a treat … you feel like a third person at a table for two.”

Don Graves, The Hamilton Spectator
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Midwest Book Review:  “Very Highly Recommended”

In Winter’s Grip
Brenda Chapman
Rendezvous Crime
c/o Napoleon & Company
235-1173 Dundas Street East, Toronto, ON M4M 3P1
9781926607053, $16.95,

The past you put behind you will come about soon enough. “In Winter’s Grip” tells the story of Maja Cleary, who abandons her home town after her mother’s death. But when her father dies, she finds her departure cannot be permanent as she must face the cruelty that she so desperately tried to put behind her. A story of murder, dysfunction, and the search for truth and justice, “In Winter’s Grip” is a fine story and a very highly recommended one.

Review: Chapman’s Cathartic Grip

By Mike Levin
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Mystery Maven Review

This is the first adult mystery from Brenda Chapman, who has three popular YA mysteries under her belt. And what a debut! In Winter’s Grip lives up to its name and holds the readers in its grip all the way through.

Maja Cleary, a plastic surgeon who lives in Ottawa with her husband, travels back to her hometown in Duved Cove, Minnesota for her father’s funeral. Going back is a hard thing to do because of the years of bad memories of her abusive father and a young love affair she ran away from. Maja has many unresolved issues that confront her when she returns but she’s also determined to protect her younger brother, Jonas from being charged with her father’s murder.

The plot has lots of twists and turns, becoming a maze of secrets and past transgressions just bursting to be exposed. Her father touched many lives, and none of it was good, however it was all done in secret, so his image around town remained that of a former police officer, who was held in high regard. As Maja uncovers various aspects of her father’s sordid past, Jonas appears to have even more motives to have done the deed, and then…another body is found; the list of suspects increases. And, as Maja nears the truth, the killer gets closer to her.

Getting at the truth means also sorting out her own life, and Maja Cleary is gutsy enough to do just that. These are characters we care about and join with Maja in searching for the truth. There are many layers to be exposed, and the suspense drives the reader to keep reading right to the end.

This is a beautifully written book with landscapes painted on the pages. Brenda Chapman has given the reader, mystery or mainstream, a complex, most satisfying read.

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"Deeply atmospheric and tightly plotted, Cold Mourning is Chapman’s sharpest mystery yet.” ― C.B. Forrest, author of the Charlie McKelvey mysteries

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