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Ghosts in the Snow

(Dubric Bryerly #1)

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  516 ratings  ·  61 reviews
Where does the fever of illusion stop...
and the cold truth begin?

This unique debut thriller combines forensics, fantasy, and edge-of-your-seat suspense like never before. In a world where sorcery is illegal, someone is murdering young women in ways that defy all reason—and all detection. Only one man knows how to track such an untraceable killer, a man called to deliver ju
Paperback, 488 pages
Published October 26th 2004 by Spectra Books
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3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  516 ratings  ·  61 reviews

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May 04, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, mystery, ghosts
Think of a fairly standard serial-killer mystery, only set in a vaguely medieval high fantasy kingdom. Dubric is the older, somewhat-hard-bitten detective (or, er, something. It wasn't clear to me what he does when there are no murders, which we are told is most of the time) trying to catch the elusive psycho who has been slashing up servant girls. I liked the novelty of this genre-cross, but every aspect of the story was... off. The characters, their relationships, the world in which they lived ...more
Mar 17, 2012 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 18, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
Ghosts in the Snow might not have been a waste of time reading, but I couldn’t bring myself to finish it. The premise had been attractive—the book had originally been described to me as a magical forensic mystery—but I couldn’t stand the characters. Any of them. I was particularly taken aback by the prevalent viciousness against the female characters. And that’s not even taking into effect that this is a murder-mystery novel, and the murderer sought is a serial killer who is attacking young wome ...more
Jul 09, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, mystery
The Basics:

At its heart, Ghosts in the Snow is a modern-day thriller that’s been transplanted into a fantasy setting. The book follows Dubric Bryerly, head of security at Castle Faldorrah and investigator par excellance. Dubric is also the victim of a strange curse—the ghosts of people murdered at Castle Faldorrah appear to him, and won’t go away until their murders are solved. Generally speaking, the ghosts can’t DO anything, and no one but Dubric can see them (or knows about the curse). Normal
Jun 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)
This is Tamara Siler Jones's debut novel, and it is an absolute winner in my opinion. This is a dark, gritty and very grim mystery with an exceptionally clever dose of fantasy woven throughout. There's murder and mayhem; there's magic and intense psychological drama. The main protagonist of the novel is Dubric Bryerly, a survivor of the "Mage Wars", now serving as the Castellan, or Chief of Security, in a castle owned by the Lord he owes allegiance to.

Ghosts in the Snow is a forensic-fantasy th
For fans of crime mysteries, historical fiction and low-magic fantasy. Dubric is the 68-year-old head inspector for Castle Faldorrah faced with a set of brutal murders. The perpetrator seems to be a ghost - silent and leaving no trace. That is, no trace except for the ghosts left behind that only Dubric can see. As the body count of the sadistic serial murderer rises, Dubric is plagued by an ever-increasing number of ghosts captured in time at the moment of their death, making it nearly impossib ...more
J Danz
Dec 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is one of those books I would never have picked up. I'm not a fan of mystery and (with the rare exception) haven't had an interest in swords-and-magic fantasy since high school. But attending a reading by the author motivated me to pick up this book. Her enthusiasm and the parts she chose from her books to read to the audience sold me.

It's a good read that quickly becomes a page turner. I'm hungry for more adventures in this series.

Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
2 1/2 stars - I almost liked it. It's a relatively well-put-together mystery and, to begin with, I loved the idea of the ghosts. But the ghosts don't really matter much, and I wanted them to have some sort of interaction or weight in the tale. There were too many characters, and they were not individual enough to sort one from another a lot of the time. I didn't care about the victims and I WANT to care about the victims, so that was a major fail. I felt like I was shoved into who I need to care ...more
Dec 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing

This book was unexpectedly fantastic!!!

How pissy would it be to see the ghosts of people killed until their case is ultimately resolved? I mean, daaaaaamn!!!

That sounds pretty bad, but it does get worse. Much worse. It's like, you take that base condition and it gradually evolves into something more terrifying. While at the same time, trying to get the case resolved!

It's gory as all get out, so if that isn't your thing, this definitely won't be for you. There is no topic untouched.
Lolly's Library
Take the heinous crimes of Jack the Ripper, ramped up a notch or two, add the thrills and chills of a well-written crime novel, mix in the oppressive atmosphere most often found in dark fantasy novels, and what you come up with is Ghosts in the Snow, a superbly crafted and seamless mix of seemingly disparate genres.

Dubric Bryerly is the castellan of Castle Faldorrah, responsible for the safety and well-being of his master's, Lord Brushgar's, domain. When an unknown killer begins savagely murderi
C Joy
Sep 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is the first story I've read in this genre which falls under fantasy and historical fiction. I've always been a fan of suspense and mysteries so when I saw this on sale, it made me want to pick it up. Something compelled me to buy it and no it's not a little voice in my , and it's also not the half-price tag. Maybe I'm reading too much paranormal stuff but somehow it seemed to say "buy me! buy me!" I knew I was risking an impulse buy because the author wasn't familiar and after I saw the ot ...more
I picked up the three books in this series on recommendations from a book community on LiveJournal. I'll just say - horror is not my cup of tea. I love fantasy and action and violence to a point, but not beyond that.

Aside from my dislike for the genre (which undoubtedly tinges my review), the setting both intrigues and puzzles me. The author subscribes so heavily to the "show 'em, don't tell 'em" dictum that virtually nothing about the setting is explained. After reading/skimming all three books
Feb 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really good read. I'm not really all that into Fantasy stuff so I thought I'd give this hybrid book a try and I'm glad I did. She does a nice job of setting things out and every time I think it's one thing, something happens to dispel that hypothesis. So whodunnit? You have to read this book to find out.
Jan 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book gave me nightmares. I even slept with the lights on for a night or two. I was expecting kings, mages, mystery and war. What I got was a solid horror mystery with a killer that is vile, depraved and heinous. Shockingly gory, too. Which was awesome.

I liked Dubric. I wanted more of Dubric and his story. But hopefully that will happen in subsequent books of the series. I didn't love the Nella character. She started strong, but was a little too simpering at times. I wanted more fight and fi
Aug 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 3-passable
The essence of this novel sounded very promising: a mixed-genre fantasy thriller, which is set in a medieval sort of Game of Thrones world. If you chose this because you like crime novels with a twist, you may be happily entertained. Unfortunately, the fantasy elements (why I chose to read it) are just vaguely explored. So was pretty much everything else. Pity. This could have been so much more, if only the writer had been more interested in the fantasy aspect or the historical background of her ...more
Okay, well, I guess I'd give this about 3.25 Goodreads stars. It's not badly written (though I did catch a few lingering proofreading slips, including an I-should-be-me and a sprung-s/b-sprang), but it's pretty gory, with lots of bloody deaths (as well as some mob violence), and the suspicion gets focused on Risley sooner than really makes sense to me. I did figure out one thing that turned out to be true, and one sneaky transition did NOT fool me, but although I suspected the one who turned out ...more
Holly Mcentee
May 28, 2018 rated it did not like it
Ugh. The 3-4-5 star reviews led me astray on this one for sure. Poorly constructed world, too many characters (and the main character is a caricature, nit at all personable or likeable), juvenile dialogue, gratuitous violence (and not in a good way), and a stupid and pointless and totally unbelieveable “love” story. I will NOT be wasting my time with the two follow-up novels, and maybe I can save you the effort as well.
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
The premise was interesting. The writing was okay. It just went on for way too long. I got to a point where I just didn't care anymore, and then I still tried to continue reading it. Needless to say I ended up not finishing the book, I don't know who the killer was, and I'm okay with that actually. I read 80% of the book and just couldn't bring myself to care enough to continue.
Tarren Renn
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am not usually a mystery book fan. I am a horror fan and a friend had recommended it. I am so glad I picked it up. Wonderful and creepy!
May 24, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: mystery, fantasy
I was excited because this sounded like Brother Cadfael + magic, but the tone of the book was really off for me.
Steve Westenra
Dec 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
I'll echo many of the other reviews by saying I thoroughly enjoyed this book, but that I wish there'd been a bit more information and background given about the world. As it stands, Jones has crafted a compelling and atmospheric medieval mystery novel a la Jack the Ripper, but apart from the place names and some sparsely used magic, there was little to mark it as a fantasy. The only reason I knew this book took place in a post-post apocalyptic future (and not a medieval fantasy world) was anoth ...more
Aug 17, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Forensic Mystery Fans
For a book in a magic rich fantasy setting, one would not expect this to be a forensic detective book. Then again, the book has a LOT of surprises.

Dubric Byerly is a haunted man - literally. He was a hero in the great wars of Faldorrah, a handler of great magical items, now scarred by his experiences in such a way that he can see the spirits of murdered men and women. These shades drive him to perform acts of justice on their behalf, which he pursues vigorously. He is now the chief investigator
Nicole Gozdek
Mar 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Keine Ahnung, wie es dazu kam, dass ich gleich 2 Fantasy-Krimis hintereinander gelesen habe. Manchmal habe ich das Gefühl, nach dem Erfolg von Ben Aaronovitchs "Die Flüsse von London" ist das Genre im Aufwind. Nun also "Die Toten im Schnee".

Zuallererst ist zu sagen, dass Zartbesaitete lieber die Finger von diesem Roman lassen sollten, denn hier wird gemordet, nach CSI-Manier ermittelt, obduziert und die erlittenen Wunden auch im Detail beschrieben. Das liegt nicht jedem, daher hat der Bastei Lüb
Sep 25, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, kindle
I always enjoy a fantasy with a good mystery plot, and from the mystery aspect, this had some nice sleight of hand in how it got me second-guessing my thoughts on who the culprit might be (although I could have done with a villain who was a little less Hannibal Lechter-y).

I also appreciated the way the titular ghosts were incorporated into the story and the way she opted to reveal some elements of the main characters' backstories in drips and drabs throughout the book as a fun way to learn more
Jun 24, 2008 rated it liked it
I think this leaned more towards horror for me than fantasy, the murders in this book were very graphic and chilling. I had to pause every so often before I could move on. The idea is very genre-bending : in a midieval castle setting with fantasy elements thrown in (ghosts, magic items, a curse), the head of security Dubric has to use primitive forensics and detective work to determine who the serial killer in the castle is. As a sub-story there is a romance between a poor chambermaid and a youn ...more
Aaron Bunce
Nov 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I picked Ghosts in the Snow as my January 2016 book of the month. Yes, I liked it that much! I just finished Ghosts in the Snow, by Tamara Jones, a week or two ago, and I had to jump right into the second one right away. There are so many reasons why Ghosts in the Snow is a perfect fit for January. It is a dark, engrossing read. Part mystery, part thriller and crime procedural, Ghosts in the Snow is the perfect pairing to cold, dark days, ankle deep snow, and the kind of wind that whistles and h ...more
Jun 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Ms. Siler Jones' writing style swept me into the moment and kept me there. It is true that, like about 98.9% of all books on the market today the copy editing is not so terrific (would a publishing house PLEASE hire me to do this job? I promise I would do a much better job than a lot of the people you already have on board!!), but if I were to let that deter me from reading truly great books, I would have nothing to read. Consider Thomas Harris' books - his writing style drove me absolutely mad, ...more
Aug 14, 2007 rated it did not like it
GHOSTS IN THE SNOW (Mystery/Fantasy) - DNF
Jones, Tamara Siler - 1st book
Bantam, 2004- Paperback
*** Dubric Bryerly, the head of security at Castle Faldorrah, sees the dead. In this case, the victims are young servant girls who are brutally murdered.
*** I loved the premise of this book, but not the book itself. Partly my fault for not realizing it was a fantasy set in some, according to other reviewers on, medieval world in a post-apocalyptic, post-technological age. The period seemed
Michael Kucharski
May 18, 2008 rated it liked it
Tamara Siler Jones’ Ghost in the Snow, however, is another matter. It is a combination forensic thriller, fantasy and suspense. I thought that George R. R. Martin’s books were brutal, they are Disney stories by comparison. Ghost in the Snow is well written, well plotted with great characters, an amazing book for a first effort. My only complaint is that she went to too much effort to make her “red herring” look as guilty as hell; this meant, he was innocence and I figured out 100 pages or so ahe ...more
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Tamara Jones started her academic career as a science geek, earned a degree in art, and, when she's not making quilts or herding cats, writes grisly thrillers. Despite the violent nature of her work, Tam's easygoing and friendly. Not sick or twisted at all. Honest.

Tamara is represented by Laura Bradford at Bradford Literary Agency.

Other books in the series

Dubric Bryerly (4 books)
  • Threads of Malice  (Dubric Bryerly, #2)
  • Valley of the Soul (Dubric Bryerly, #3)
  • Fire: A Lars Hargrove Story (Dubric Byerly)