Review: Winter at the Door by Sarah Graves

winter-at-the-doorWinter at the Door
by Sarah Graves
Series: Lizzie Snow #1
Genre: Mystery
Published by Bantam Books, 2015
Library book
272 pages
Grade: B-
Synopsis: Moving from Boston to remote Bearkill, Maine, isn’t homicide cop Lizzie Snow’s idea of a step up. But breaking away from tragedy and personal betrayal is at least a step in the right direction. Her dead sister’s fate still torments her, as does her long-missing niece’s disappearance. Lizzie hopes to find the mysteriously vanished child here, amid the coming ice and snow. But in the Great North Woods, something darker and more dangerous than punishing winter is also bound for Bearkill.

The town is a world apart in more than distance—full of people who see everything, say little, and know more than they’ll share with an outsider. The only exceptions are the handsome state cop who once badly broke Lizzie’s heart and desperately wants another chance—and Lizzie’s new boss, sheriff Cody Chevrier, who’s counting on her years of homicide experience to help him solve his most troubling case, before it’s too late.

A rash of freak accidents and suicides has left a string of dead men—all former local cops. Now the same cruel eyes that watched them die are on Lizzie—and so is the pressure to find out what sort of monster has his hooks in this town, what his ruthless game is, and just how brutally he’ll play to win. Whatever the truth is, its twisted roots lie in the desolate backwoods of Allagash County: where the desperate disappear, the corrupt find shelter, and the innocent lose everything. It’s there that a cunning and utterly cold-blooded killer plans the fate of the helpless lives at his mercy—one of whom may be the lost child Lizzie will do anything to save. As a blizzard bears down, and Bearkill’s dark secrets claw their way to the surface, Lizzie gears up for a showdown that could leave the deep, driven snow stained blood red.

“Come on, pig,” she said softly. “Come on, I just want to take you home. Nobody’s going to hurt you.”

Not yet, anyway, she added silently, because of course that bacon, those chops.

The pig, apparently, thought the same, all four hundred or so pounds of it. God, did pigs really grow so big and–

The pig glanced over the cliff, then turned its unsettlingly intelligent small eyes–yep, those are piggy little eyes, all right–on her and the dog once more.

After that–

Snork! it said very clearly again. Defiantly, looking right at her.

And then it jumped.


  • I like Lizzie Snow and I love the Maine setting.
  • Lizzie quits her job in Boston as a homicide cop to work in a small town in norther Maine as a deputy sheriff. At first glance, this seems strange, but it’s explained by the lead Lizzie gets for her missing niece.
  • The sheriff has his own motives for hiring a homicide detective–retired police officers in northern Maine are turning up dead, but they all seem to be suicides. Sheriff Chevrier wants some expert advice from Lizzie.
  • Lizzie finds out she has more mundane things to do as a deputy sheriff than as a Boston homicide detective. Such as searching for and finding lost pigs!
  • I did enjoy many of the characters in the story and look forward to learning more about them in the next book.


  • I don’t understand some of the underlying points in this story.
  • I still don’t understand why she received the information about her niece which brought her to northern Maine–her niece, missing for years…but she doesn’t know what her niece looks like or why someone would suddenly send her info.
  • I found the love interests in the story distracting.

About the author

Sarah Graves lives in Eastport, Maine and besides this new mystery series is also the author of The Homicide is Murder series.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I’m looking forward to the next book and hope some of my questions are answered.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Reading Challenges

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge
  • Cloak & Dagger Mystery Challenge–hosted by Amy @ A Bookish Girl
  • Library Challenge–hosted by Sheila @ the Book Journey blog
  • New Author Challenge–hosted by the Literary Escapism blog