Review by Prof. Jenn

Ever hear of the phrase, “I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out”? Well in Ian Healy’s Blood on the Ice, the blood is of a different flavor than your basic in-game scuffle. And in this era of post-brooding-Louis and sparkling bloodsuckers, that’s a good thing.

Healy’s snickering, boyish humor is a highlight of this novel—from the characters’ postmodern comments on vampiric pop culture to the hockey teammates’ constant good-natured trash talking to the wry snarkiness of the “narrator” (a lovely twist as to the identity of the narrator I won’t spoil for you, but wait for the delightful punchline) pull us through this story with tight action and a keen series of cliffhanger chapter endings.

The basic dramatic action is as follows: our slightly naïve young protagonist is a part of a sub-sub-par hockey team in Canada (the Fighting Aardvarks—an awesome name), and is caught in the crossfire as his teammates slowly begin to transform into vampires. Already we have an unconventional pairing—hockey and vampires—that oddly makes a lot of sense. As we follow Hammie through one failed and one successful romance, through his slow discovery of why his teammates are acting so strangely, to his hilariously guilt-trippy parents, unusually brilliant history of vampires and probably the funniest character entrance ever (by a character with an equally ridiculous name: Doogie Van Halen), you get the picture right away that this isn’t your common vampire story, nor is it your common sports-underdog or rom-com story either: it’s a crazy mix of all these things and in the middle, you have characters that are so realistically drawn, you can’t help but root for the home team, even as they mold matzoh balls into bullets.

Three things Healy does especially well in this book: 1) his treatment of the female characters and the romance brewing alongside the action is not in any way sappy, but completely realistic: his women are strong yet feminine, Hammie’s adorable-yet-not-cloying attention to his new love spot-on, and his inclusion of a Goth girl is perfect within the panoply of characters. 2) Healy’s action sequences are exciting without being confusing, detailed without being weighty, and gory to the funniest degree. Of course, we should expect Healy to be good at action scenes, as it’s a bit of a specialty for him: .   3) the thread of the wry Narrator is gripping throughout—sort of a Chorus to the main throughline of the action.

Overall, this is a thrilling, funny read, and I highly recommend it.   ~Prof. Jenn


The book’s page on Smashwords:

His e-book store: