Fade to White Review
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One evening, a friend and I were discussing our passions—his is cooking and mine is anything to do with books and writing—and how it doesn’t necessarily thrill the person sitting next to you. The main character’s passion in Fade to White is skiing—to the point that it almost takes over the whole novel. And although I have no real interest in skiing, author Wendy Clinch manages to make it sound interesting while wrapping it in mystery.

In this second Stacey Curtis Ski Diva mystery (after 2010’s Double Black), washed-up Hollywood actor Harper Stone has come to Spruce Pines, Vermont to film a mouthwash commercial. He’s very vocal about it being beneath him to star in such a thing.

While skiing out of bounds one night, Stacey skis across Harper’s dead body. Stacey figures that Sheriff Guy Ramsey suspects that drugs are involved, but he won’t confirm either way. Stacey, on the other hand, is positive that drugs are involved because of something she witnessed when she went to pick up her new ski heads at the local ski shop. But convincing the sheriff to listen to her is another matter, especially when it’s unclear what role drugs played in the actor’s death.

Though the focus of Fade to White stays on Stacey’s passion for skiing, there’s still enough of a mystery—a mystery that doesn’t end quite the way you think it will—to keep you hooked. Interesting characters, such as the ski bum Chip and the eccentric owner of the Slippery Slope ski shop, will also keep you caught up in the story. And the quiet Sheriff Ramsey adds some flavor to the book’s cast.

At times, though, Stacey comes off sounding like a snob, especially when she’s talking about the flatlanders who come to the mountains in the winter to ski. She often acts as if she’s the only one who should be allowed to ski the slopes, which irked me a great deal. For those reasons, I was never really able to warm up to her character. She gained my empathy in Double Black because of her tough situation and the way she handled it, but that wasn’t the case in Fade to White.

Still, an amateur detective mystery set in a ski town is something that’s new and fascinating enough to keep me coming back for more. Hopefully future novels will tone down Stacey’s snobbish nature and focus more on her spunkiness.

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