Cold As Ice

A taut, well-written story of cross and double-cross.

Ben Hemmings is living the American dream. He has a beautiful wife, two gorgeous daughters, and a good job. His company, Hemmings Construction, builds barns for horse-breeders and trainers, and is quickly acquiring a reputation among the elite. So imagine his surprise when an FBI unit busts its way into his house, handcuffs him, and drags him to a jail cell.

You see, Ben has unknowingly been involved in a money-laundering operation - and now the Feds want him to give up his contacts...or face some serious jail time. Never believing that the charges will stick, Ben goes to trial, and is promptly locked away in a minimum-security camp. There, he makes the acquaintance of Rollie Shore, mob boss and overall bad guy, who appoints himself Ben's guardian angel. When the Feds hear about this, they offer Ben another deal - use his connection with Rollie to recover a collection of stolen horse breeding samples (and put Rollie away for good in the process), or look at another ten years in prison.

Ben takes the deal, but quietly vows to double-cross both the Feds and Rollie. Released from prison, he begins to play a dangerous game of cat and mouse, manipulating the FBI and the mob in an attempt to recover the stolen collection and gain his freedom from his captors. As the body count mounts, it becomes clear to Ben that there's almost no one he can trust...and that any mistake will be fatal.

A taut, well-written thriller, "On Ice" is a roller-coaster ride right from the opening paragraphs. Often surprising, never boring, David Ramus expertly guides his hero from one calamity to the next, deftly unveiling new parts of the puzzle until the pieces come together in the explosive showdown. While the pacing, especially in the novel's second half, may seem a little jagged, the first half of the novel, with its vivid characterization of prison life and snappy dialogue, is well worth a read.

This article was first published on 25 Jun 2001.