Frostbite is a prequel short story set in E.J. Stevens’ Ivy Granger Detective universe.
Given how short the story actually is, it’s hard to talk too much about the plot without spoiling it. It opens with a short prologue in the form of a tourists’ pamphlet talking about the sort of paranormal shenanigans someone visiting Ivy’s hometown might expect. We then open in Ivy’s detective office, with an older female client begging Ivy for help dealing with a haunting at her home.
At first she and her partner shrug off the haunting theory as an orgy from a type of fae that often infests houses, but as the woman describes her concerns, she ultimately piques their interest and they accept the case.
What follows is a unique take on paranormal activity and a touching look at what someone will sacrifice for those they love. As short of a time as I spent with the characters, I found myself drawn in by their world and some of the unique creatures and ideas presented within the haunted home. Some of the imagery was disturbing, but not in a torture porn or particularly gorey way. More…unsettling.
It’s hard to get a feel for an author’s overall style in such a short work (though frequent readers of short stories will likely argue with me), but I will say that the concentrated dose of creativity in the climax alone piqued my interest in the rest of the series. I wish the author would have spent a little more time on the mystery and let me linger in the house a little while longer, because although satisfying, the climax felt a little rushed with the buildup that led me there.
4/5 stars, looking forward to checking out more of Stevens’ work.