Shiver by Allie Reynolds
This thriller by Australian author Allie Reynolds is the perfect winter read! Five friends are invited to a reunion at a resort in the French Alps. They haven’t seen each other in ten years. The last time they were all together, they were at the peak of their competitive snowboarding careers. That is until one friend suffered a near-fatal injury during a competition and another friend never showed up to compete at all – her disappearance still a mystery ten years on.
Upon arriving at the isolated resort, the group are surprised to learn that there are no other guests, no staff and an icebreaker game awaits them in the resort’s function room. The game quickly ignites past grievances and incites new ones. Along with increasingly strange happenings at the resort, the group are on edge – questioning who invited them to this reunion, who they can trust and most disturbing of all, what really happened to their missing friend Saskia all those years ago?
Shiver has great pace from the get-go. It flips between the present and the past with both timelines providing engrossing storylines. It delves into the competitive world of professional snowboarding. These athletes live, socialise, train and compete at the highest level with the same people for months at a time in fairly isolated areas. In Shiver, this means walking a fine line between friendship and maintaining that competitive edge, and what can happen when that line is over-stepped in both directions.
Shiver is author Allie Reynolds’ first book. Nowadays Allie lives on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia, where she has traded her snowboard for a surfboard after spending five winters in the mountains of France, Switzerland, Austria and Canada as a professional freestyle snowboarder. Reading Allie’s book, you get a sense that it was written by someone who has been immersed in the world of professional snowboarding and experienced that level of competition first-hand.
Don’t let the snowboarding terminology throughout the novel put you off. If you don’t know your ‘Cripplers’ from your ‘McTwists‘, it shouldn’t affect your enjoyment of the story. Frankly, I’d rather go to a beach dressed as a giant hot chip and be set amongst a flock of seagulls than entertain the prospect of a snow holiday. Shiver provides the perfect winter escape, and reading it on the couch with a hot chocolate in hand means you’re far less likely to fall into a crevasse.
Shiver by Allie Reynolds, published by Hachette Australia, 2021. 421 pages.