Sara J. Henry returns with a solid second novel, again featuring Troy Chance, a free lance reporter working in Lake Placid. A COLD AND LONELY PLACE happens several months after the successful LEARNING TO SWIM. As the novel opens, Troy is set to write a feature about an ice palace being built on the lake and has gone out to take photos of the men cutting ice blocks for the build. In an instant the festive mood changes when a body is seen in the murky waters under the ice. Quickly the body is identified as Tobin, an off and on again boyfriend to Jessamyn, Troy's only female roommate. Tobin had been missing for several weeks, but no one had been alarmed about the disappearance. Lake Placid had many temporary residents, and Tobin seemed to be the drifter type.
Then, Win, Tobin's sister arrives to claim the body, decides to stay while toxicology reports are completed, and quickly strikes up a friendship with Troy. Bit by bit, Troy is drawn to Tobin's life story. Like she had always assumed, he was the son of a rich family who had chosen to abandon that lifestyle in favor of the road, but quickly Win's memories and Troy's decision to write a series of articles about Tobin leads her to a much more complicated, and more sympathetic view of the young man. While her new knowledge changes her views about him, nothing brings her closer to knowing how he died -- accident, suicide, or murder.
Sara J. Henry set a great foundation for a series in the debut novel LEARNING TO SWIM. There, she established Troy's loner, but caring, personality, giving her just enough quirks to be interesting. All of that continues in this second novel. Lake Placid, its tourist element, and great winter sports venue again play a strong role. And of course, Troy's large house with its wide array of roommates adds a fresh spark to the stories. When I checked Sara J. Henry's website, I did not see any advance notice or mention of a third novel, but I certainly hope that we have a continuing series in the works. With no mention of a third novel's publication date, I fear I may be waiting more than a few months and that is disappointing. Still, I would rather to see quality, well written stories told a wide space apart rather than rushed novels which fail to deliver what they promise. Continue writing Sara J. Henry; I am ready to see how Troy's story unfolds.