From the author of the highly-acclaimed KILL YOUR FRIENDS, a terrifying, evocative and gut-wrenching thriller
You thought you could leave the past behind.
Donnie Miller counts himself lucky. Living in a beautiful, spacious house in the wild and remote landscape of central Canada, he spends his days writing for the local newspaper, working on a film script, and acting as house-husband. After a troubled and impoverished upbringing in Scotland, he now has all he wants: a caring wife, a bright and happy son, a generous father-in-law. As the brutal northern winter begins to bite, he can sit back and enjoy life.
But his peace is soon broken. There are noises in the nearby woods, signs of some mysterious watcher. When the family dog disappears, Donnie makes a horrifying discovery. Is it wolves, as the police suspect, or something far more dangerous, far darker? What secrets has Donnie been keeping? And why does he have the terrible sense that his dream was never going to last?
A taut, shocking and visceral novel that will leave you gasping for breath, Cold Hands is the first thriller by the remarkable John Niven.
“Perhaps the most cleverly constructed and incendiary thriller I've ever read. The great books in this genre take you on an emotional roller-coaster, but the best, like this one, also have you trampling through a moral minefield.”
“Niven is a deft writer who pumps unease like gas into the space between what Donnie was and what he has become…[a] gripping piece of work.”
“[Niven has] a depth and empathy for his characters that few modern thrillers can match…The pace, dialogue and narrative voice are all pitch-perfect, and the flashback scenes of Donnie’s childhood are frighteningly realistic. Niven proves himself expert at creating a sense of foreboding, and when all Donnie’s worst fears come to pass, the author clearly uses his own experience as an occasional screenwriter to ramp up the tension to almost unbearable levels. A thriller that delivers on every level, Cold Hands is a fantastic change of style and pace for Niven.”
Doug Johnstone, Big Issue
“A heart-racing page-turner of redemption and retribution... The book's twists and turns come to a cinematic, savage climax and it seems destined to join John's other books and be bought up for the big screen.”
Sunday Mail, Scotland
“Cold Hands is certainly one of the year’s smartest thrillers, as well as its most blood-soaked.”
“Deeply, intelligently satirical… Niven provides hilarious, perceptive entertainment”
Henry Sutton, Daily Mirror
“An intense, breath-taking read... a tense thriller designed to keep the reader turning the pages long after bedtime; at its core, a character who does not necessarily deserve our sympathies, but who receives them nonetheless... Cold Hands is John Niven’s first foray into crime/thriller territory (hence the addition of the middle initial), and shows a writer who is more than up to the task... From its slow beginnings to its violent and blood-spattered conclusion, Cold Hands is a good old-fashioned thriller. With a handful of twists designed to keep the reader on their toes, Niven’s first thriller is an intense and gripping examination of one man’s determination to protect his family from a past he has long forgotten. This is thriller writing at its best, and John J. Niven is definitely one to watch in a genre that can, at times, suffer from saturation of offerings.”
“A gut-wrenching debut...This thriller announces the arrival of a tremendous new talent...It drives the breath from your body with its pace, suspense and enveloping horror...Terrifying and mysterious. Superbly told and achingly sad, this book grabs your heart strings and threatens to tear them out.”
“Niven’s debut on the thriller scene is ridiculously, disturbingly compelling.”
“Well-written, tense and with some very nasty images, this isn’t Niven’s first book…, but it is his first thriller, and…a good one.”
“Brilliantly written, Cold Hands is that rarest of things – a gripping thriller with real depth. An intense, exhilarating adrenaline rush, I found myself staying up all night to finish it in one sitting. Wonderful.”
S. J. Watson
“Gripping and disturbing”
Liz Smith, My Weekly