book review – Ice on The Bay

by Dale and Kathleen Lehman

Average rating (all reviews) :


3 Bloggers Review

Dianne James Book Blogger
Julia Wilson
Christian Bookaholic
Dianne James 
Blogger & Reader
     Joni Dee
Thrillers Author


Reviewed by Julia Wilson


Ice On The Bay by Dale and Kathleen Lehman is a marvellous contemporary murder suspense. It is the third book in the Howard County Mystery series but can be read as a stand-alone.

Once again the reader is in for a gripping ride in this compulsive read. The police officers work together to get the job done. They remind me of the three musketeers with their dedication and their loyalty to each other.

A cold case collides with present day crimes of murder, blackmail, arson and burglary. The cases run side by side as the reader tries to guess the connection, if any. Literally a jaw dropping ending that had me hooked and reading with heart racing.

Not only is there great action but the reader really gets to know the characters – their back stories and their families. They are not just flat characters in a book but well developed 3D characters that leap out and engage the reader.

Meeting up with familiar characters gave an air of consistency and a feeling of catching up with old friends. The police officers are very personable, the reader cares about what happens to them. The ‘baddies’ are well drawn too, eliciting feelings of dislike from the reader. For some, we recognise they are caught in a spiral of crime due to circumstances of their upbringing. For others we see the result of poor choices.

These Howard County Mysteries are cracking detective novels. I think they would make a marvellous television mini-series. I am hoping there are many more books to come.

Absolutely compulsive and nail biting reading.

I received this book for free from The Book Gobbler. A favourable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.

Originaly Posted on the Christian Bookaholic


Dianne James Book Blogger Reviewed by Dianne James

A Cracking Crime Novel with Enough Twists and Turns to Make a Belly Dancer Faint

Howard County PD; three separate police investigations – a murder, an arson and a two year old missing persons case. All unrelated – or are they?
Detectives Montufar, Dumas And Peller try to make sense of their respective cases and as they follow the leads they have – slim as some may be – a darker, more complicated story starts to emerge. It is a complex tale of drugs, deception, blackmail and murder and contains all the elements one might expect from a good crime suspense novel.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book from start to finish. The characters are well developed and realistic and it moves at a good pace to build the suspense. The more I read, the less I wanted to put it down – to do mundane everyday things. In the end, mundane things lost and I read this in one sitting.

It is a cracking crime suspense novel with enough twists and turns to make a belly dancer faint.
Definitely recommended.

I got this book free from Bookgobbler and was not paid to write a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Dianne is running the book review blog Novel Experiences


Reviewed by Joni Dee

A Good Howard County Sequel

I liked Dale E Lehman’s debut novel “The Fibonacci Murders”. For some reason though, I did not read the second book of the series “True Death” but went straight the task of reading and reviewing the newly written sequel, in collaboration with his wife Kathleen.

I believe that good sequels are measured if they manage to stand-alone as a book on their own. It’s a big issue in my view, if reading the first book is mandatory in order to understand the next. Albeit a hard task for an author no doubt, would you imagine needing to read nine of Agatha Christies’ superb Poirot novels before reaching the famous “Murder on the Orient Express” ? Not likely. I am pleased to report that in that aspect, the Lehman’s did not fall into a trap that many “sequeling” authors do. The book can be read as a stand-alone, and details from book II were easily filled. I did however thought that if someone read the book as a stand-alone he would have found Lieutenant Det. Rick Peller a bit timid, and over-fatherly. However, I’ll attribute it to him (Peller) simply playing a smaller role in this novel, and maybe just getting older, like most of us.

As always with Howard Country, there are few cases which seems at first not-connected, but interlink as the story draws near its end. Peller is working on an old two-year old case of a missing person; Detective Sgt. Montufar, now engaged in a hot & heavy relationship with Detective Sgt. Dumas, is trying to figure out a copycat arson event; and Dumas – who’s undeniably the main protagonist, is investigating a stone-cold murder of a hustler.
There are also subplots of Montufar’s father dying in the hospital and Peller getting involved with a socialite, both which I found completely redundant and not contributing to the plot (Dale Lehman would have to excuse me on this, as the hospital scenes are probably taken from some personal experience which he wanted to set-free).

The writing is precise as always, but sometimes too precise. It’s humouristic when the boys make wise-cracks for using high vocabulary words, but when the villains use them or an immigrant family, it somewhat hurts the overall flow.
I especially liked The Lehmans’ flirtation with the cold weather, reminding me a lot of my descriptive writing style which, on numerous occasions, was blamed to be throwing the reader off the main subject. I liked it, it gave the story a body.

My main criticism involves the story:
It is a similar problem to that which Mr Lehman had when he wrote solo “The Fibonacci Murders”. Basically, a lot of the details are revealed but the story kind of solves itself before they can serve as clues. The reader doesn’t really have a chance to reach any conclusion on his own, and one witness who could have easily given the story to begin with, if enough pressure had been applied, sings at the end, after we have already speculated what had accord. For me, it was a good story, portraying mundane police work, with likeable characters, but it lacked sophistication. The Howard County detectives came across as too naïve, and too trustworthy, but I liked them.

Another point is that I wasn’t quite sold on how the stories interlink, nor do I think that Peller and Montufar had contributed much to the cracking of the case.

The story redeems itself with a nice twist right at the end, although the way it was discovered and the entire charade seemed a bit messy. I’m not going to reveal anything here, but just as you think the novel reaches its end, The Lehmans’ give us a much-needed climax with a bursting action scene.

“Ice on the Bay” is a precise written novel, which shows the hard task of police detective work. The characters are likeable, the imagery is a pleasant surprise – but the story which is crucial, is somewhat lacking, for this die-hard crime thriller fan