Penguin Group sent me this book to review some time ago; now that we are in the middle of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games, I figured this would be prime time to discuss Red Snow. As a lawyer specializing in cases involving the criminally insane, author Michael Slade sets his murder mystery novel at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police are the heroes of the story, with the James Bond/Indiana Jones-style villain intent on destroying the world. Beautiful women play a prominent role in this typically "modern" murder mystery, in which the female characters are supposedly strong (they are either involved in police work or they work alongside the villain), yet they still require a certain amount of care and protection from the men. The female villains are mere sidekicks, and the "good" women depend on the other police officers to do the real grunt work.
Slade's writing style is simplistic; he makes use of basic creative writing techniques with flat characters and stereotypical plot design. Cliches are abundant in this crime novel, complete with a "tittering buxom trio" and an evil villain with a penchant for shriveled heads.
Although the writing itself is mediocre at best, presumably there are grounds for the realistic aspects of the murder cases within Red Snow, considering that Slade himself has work on more than a hundred murder cases during his time as a lawyer. But with a villain hell-bent on revenge, mutilation, and world destruction, as well as a body discovered covered in gold and a number of athletes who get their heads mercilessly chopped off, the book appears to be more of a child's imagination run amok rather than anything that could remotely be compared to an actual murder trial.
Despite the fact that the storyline is tediously predictive and that the writing is blase, Slade certainly knows how to keep his reader captivated by the sheer magnitude of disturbing scenes. Not even the main characters are safe from being killed off in gruesome fashion. It is for this reason that I wouldn't recommend reading the book before going to sleep- chapter after chapter ends on the note of someone being brutally killed. Not, perhaps, the best genre to choose, especially when set at the infamous international event of the Olympics.