Saturday, November 26, 2016

Ice and Bone

Ice and Bone by Monte Francis
SceneBooks Inc.: 4/19/16
eBook review copy; 390 pages
ISBN-13: 9781942266396

Ice and Bone: Tracking An Alaskan Serial Killer by Monte Francis is a highly recommended true crime novel.

"In the Fall of 2000, in Anchorage, Alaska, a series of murders captured headlines, stoking fears a serial killer was on the loose. Six women, mostly Alaska Natives, were found slain, all under similar circumstances. An anonymous tip led investigators to a thuggish, young drug dealer, who would eventually implicate himself in three of the women’s deaths. But it wasn’t until the disappearance of a well-loved nurse psychologist seven years later, and the discovery of her body in the remote wilderness of Wasilla, that two astute female detectives would finally bring the murderer to justice."

Joshua Wade was likely responsible for the murders of more women (and maybe even some men) than the crimes he was officially charged with. Wade was incarcerated for life in 2010 after the 2007 murder of Mindy Schloss. It is horrifying that he was charged with the 2000 murder of Della Brown but was acquitted because the evidence was circumstantial. If a better case were presented lives could have been saved. It is to the credit of everyone investigating the murder of Schloss that Wade was finally caught and put away for good.

Francis concentrates on the crimes and the investigations, but he also shows how the family and friends of his victims were affected by his horrendous actions. I do wish some more focus on the Native Alaskan population and how they are victimized, but, perhaps that is another book. Ice and Bone focuses on the murders of Brown and Schloss, but there is a mention that he may have murdered other women and men. In the end it is satisfying to know Wade is locked up for life.

The writing is clear and concise even when the information imparted is complicated and convoluted, especially with Wade's friends talking and backtracking about what he said and what happened. Expect lots of language. Francis does an admirable job presenting it all and adds background information that is pertinent. It really is a heartbreaking but chilling account of a killer and the sometimes frustrating investigation that finally put him away. (And for those of you who read Ice and Bone: Could the young woman who befriended Wade be any dumber? "I was young so I didn't understand the terminology 'acquitted for murder.' " She gives new meaning to the phrase: "Dumb as a box of rocks.")

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of the publisher/author.

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