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The Ice Cradle: A Novel from the Ghost Files    by Mary Ann Winkowski & Maureen Foley order for
Ice Cradle
by Mary Ann Winkowski
Order:  USA  Can
Crown, 2010 (2010)
Softcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Ice Cradle follows The Book of Illumination in a series by paranormal investigator Mary Ann Winkowski and Maureen Foley (a film writer, producer and director) that's a mix of cozy mystery and ghost story.

Series lead Anza O'Malley is a single mom living in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She freelances as a bookbinder and has a delightful relationship with her sweet five-year-old son Henry, his police officer father Declan, and with Declan's wife Kelly as well. Anza has a special talent inherited from her Nona - she is able to help spirits to the other side once their earthbound problems are resolved.

As The Ice Cradle opens, Anza has taken an assignment for the Block Island Historical Society during Henry's spring vacation - to create a new collection based on historical papers relating to the 1907 sinking of a steamer off the island, in which over a hundred men, women and children drowned. She and Henry stay at the Grand View Hotel (all expenses included) and Henry attends a full day drama camp at the local school.

Anza quickly befriends her charming hosts at the hotel (Lauren and Mark), and gets to know its ghosts - a somewhat feral six-year-old girl and an elderly gentleman. She learns that Henry has inherited her talent, and must find a way to talk to him about it. And she hopes to help Lauren and Mark distract the hosts of the TV Ghost Detectives show from their hotel spirits - they don't need that kind of publicity.

Anza has more than the angry dead to deal with on Block Island. There's arson, possibly relating to strong controversy about a wind farm initiative; a slick senator with his own ax to grind; and a strong new romantic interest. But how will Bert react to Anza's ghost whispering, and will their relationship survive her return to Cambridge? We'll just have to wait for the next engaging Ghost Files epsiode to find out.

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