“A Cold War” by Alan Russell – Book Review

Blurb: Nina Granville believes her business trip to Alaska will give her a short respite from the merry-go-round that came with her engagement to Congressman Terrence Donnelly. But instead of allowing her the peace she craves, Nina’s getaway from the public eye means that no one witnesses her abduction into a very cold hell.
Taken by a mountain man who calls himself Baer and then transported to a remote cabin surrounded by nothing but frozen wilderness. Nina descends into a nightmare of terror, privation, and bitter cold. Nina’s privileged life did not prepare her for imprisonment at the hands of this survivalist trapper. If she is to live—and to escape—Nina realizes she must do it on her own.


The novel begins with a honeymoon couple on an Alaskan cruise. The wife leaves the ship to go shopping in the seaside town of Seward. She is never seen again… A local town cop, Hamilton, is tasked with the investigation into Elese Martin’s disappearance. Known for being slow and plodding in his work, he is nonetheless very thorough and very deliberate. He at first suspects that Elese’s husband but cannot find any evidence. The two men, Hamilton and Martin, keep in touch over the years. Neither is able to let the disappearance of Elese Martin go.
Three years later. Nina Granville is flying to Alaska for her work with a prestigious charitable foundation. While taking a walk around the little Alaskan town, she notices an old hobo sitting on the sidewalk reciting a poem, “The Cremation of Sam McGee“.  She trips and falls, then is abducted. Nina is the wealthy fiancee of a high-profile politician and her abduction makes the news.  Hamilton is once again the policeman in charge of the investigation.

The narrative which follows shows Nina’s plight in all of its distressing, heart-breaking, circumstances, alternating with Hamilton and his investigations.

Nina’s captor is a mountain man. A man who is obsessed with the Cold War and believes that human society is on the verge of self-destruction. He is cunning, observant, and is an expert at living in hostile environments with few if any creature comforts. He hunts, traps, and fishes for survival.

Wow, I was immersed in Nina’s plight. I think I’m still cold… The book is filled with depictions of how to survive in the wilderness under extremely dire conditions.

This novel is a suspense-filled story about a strong woman with remarkable tenacity and endurance. The setting, the vast, forbidding, hostile, and coldly beautiful landscape of Alaskan wilderness is one you won’t soon forget. It was especially vivid for me as my husband and I visited Alaska just last September.

I urge you to listen to the poem, “The Cremation of Sam McGee” as it is referenced many times in the novel.

I had no expectations of this book going in. I had never read this author, and I hadn’t read any reviews (recently anyway). “A Cold War” took me in surprise in a good way. A fast-paced, suspenseful read that I would definitely recommend.  I was a bit less enthusiastic about the last chapter…  I wondered why the author bothered to write it as it seemed unrelated to the rest of the book – until I realized it held a plot twist that shed new light on the preceding chapters. Yes, Nina was quite a woman!

I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel Thomas & Mercer (Amazon Publishing) via NetGalley.

 Alan Russell lives in California. After graduating from UC San Diego, Russell worked for twenty years in the hospitality industry. He wrote and sold newspaper and magazine articles all the while he worked on his novels, using his experience in the hospitality industry as a backdrop to some of his fiction. “A Cold War” is his twelfth published novel.

Alan Russell is married to Laura Russell (a social worker) and the couple have three children.

About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
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11 Responses to “A Cold War” by Alan Russell – Book Review

  1. Pingback: #BookRecommendations with titles that start with the letter ‘C’ #booklovers #bookbloggers #GreatReads | Fictionophile

  2. I’m intrigued! Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Barb Saffer says:

    Kidnapped in Alaska….just thinking about it makes me so anxious. Nice review. 🙂


  4. What a fabulous review, Lynne! Definitely something I’d want to read. Oddly, the title threw me for a loop. Having read your summary and review, I get it now, but I would have thought it some sort of spy novel (definitely not my thing).


  5. Rosie Amber says:

    I like the sound of the setting, I hope the ending plot twist was believable.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Fab review I love it when there’s a good twist at the end!

    Liked by 1 person

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