Private Investigator Nils Shapiro is back in a second book by Matt Goldman, Broken Ice. Like his first book, New York Times bestseller Gone to Dust, Broken Ice is also set in Minnesota, this time during the iconic State Hockey Tournament. Minnesotans will recognize the familiar Xcel Center, the Anderson Window factory in Warroad, and a town filled with hockey fans during the state’s most temperamental month, March.
Nils and his partner Anders Ellegaard have been hired to find a missing teen from Warroad, Linnea Engstrom. When another girl, Haley Housh is found dead in a cave in St. Paul and Nils shows up to investigate, he is shot in the shoulder by an arrow. Clearly, someone doesn’t want Nils snooping around – or is it a case of being in the right place at the wrong time? Instead of taking time off to recover from his near-fatal injury, Nils is racing the clock to find Linnea, before she succumbs to the same fate as Haley.
As Nils pokes around, two more people are murdered Minnesota-style by someone wielding a hunting bow, and a bag of money is found in the laundry shoot of the home where they are murdered. When the Warroad hockey coach goes missing, the police are certain that he’s the killer – they even found his finger print on the arrowhead pulled from Nils’ shoulder. But Nils isn’t so sure.
There are lots of suspects in this case. Nils digs deeper, his investigation taking him to Warroad and Winnepeg, Canada, and into the woods near the slash – the US Canadian border.
As an Emmy-award winning writer for Seinfeld and the Ellen Show, Goldman has an ear for dialogue. His comedic roots show through in the banter between Nils and his partner Ellegaard. He’s created some memorable characters in addition to Nils and Ellegaard: Jameson, a former Canadian football player cum nurse practitioner, is hired by Nils’ ex-wife Micaela to dress Nils’ wounds – and he offers some comedic relief in some of the more tense moments of the investigation.
I’d recommend Matt Goldman’s Gone to Dust and Broken Ice for fans of Lee Child and Sara Paretsky. Though Broken Ice is billed as a stand-alone, I’d wager we haven’t seen the last of Nils Shapiro.