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Updated: Apr 22, 2022

"The pastor walked toward me and did something I hadn’t expected. He hugged me. I mean, he hugged me. “Son,” he said in a cracked voice. “It’s not too late to come back into the fold. When the prodigal son returned home, he realized his father never stopped loving him. The Heavenly Father has not forgotten you son, nor has he ever forsake you. He loves you. Come back to Christ, Alexander. Before you are called to judgment alone.” An excerpt from page 138

James Michel's Ice Rising is a fantastic crime thriller novel that held me captive until I finished indulging my relatable emotions in it. It is action-packed, absorbing, emotional, moralizing, and intriguing. It's one of those books that have me enthralled.

This book detailed the life of the protagonist, Alexander, starting from his childhood, to his school days, friendship, and many more themes. Alex is someone who from a very young age loved to protect his family members. Following on from his first encounter protecting his sister, Kiara when Andrew was going to mess with her, this had led Alex to fight against Andrew, they were both suspended, and Alex's father, who works almost all day was proud of him for defending his sister at such an early age.

One would have wished that this fight would end there, but it wasn't so, it had marked hatred in the heart of Andrew towards Alex and he was going to retaliate someday, this led him to join some gang. When Alex discovered whom Andrew has turned to, he avoided him, but he could still feel the fear of something happening in the future time. Andrew's crew had attacked the boys on the court while they were playing basketball. Darius, Alex's friend was shot dead, and Alex's younger brother, Danny was shot in the leg. Alex was pained about the death of his friend, Darius, a more painful part of it was that Darius's mother committed suicide over the death of her son, and weeks later, his father died of a heart attack.

Following the pain of Darius's death on Alex, he resorts that the best way to stay safe and protect his people is to join the Sons of None gang. He eventually joined them, but the aftermath marks the beginning of a drastic change in his life, he would begin to involve himself in illicit deals, drugs, illegal insurance business, smuggling, weeds, and different kinds of stuff. Sooner he would be taught how to kill, which he did countless times remorselessly. The once gentle and compassionate lad had suddenly turned into a beast and a killer. Although Alex began to make money from doing these things, he always report to his boss, Smooth, but the aftermath would lead to a different sort of story, one which I will not be able to convey in this review.

Alex's parents weren't aware of the new life their son was living, he had lied to them that he works in a big restaurant - however, his sister, Kiara, and brother, Daniel knew the kind of things he was dealing in. Kiara would frequently warn Alex to desist from this kind of life, his girlfriend, Lola, warned and eventually broke up with him over his personality, his brother Daniel was involved in clean and legitimate business with Real Estate, but Alex was finding enjoyment, wealth, ego, and power in his new lifestyle.

Alex's life as a gangster follows different stages, ranging from compassion to feeling heartless and hard, ranging from a warning, (from Arthur, Kiara, and Lola) to a sense of courage, fame, wealth, and accomplishment. He had turned into a young millionaire overnight and enjoyed every bit of his actions with no sense of remorse, empathy, or compassion.

I love the story's transition, it doesn't only tell the story of Alex, it also portrays the story of Kiara, and Daniel, all of which have a different lesson attached to them, which was why I consider the book an extraordinary crime thriller novel, one which is full of lessons, ethics, values, message, and wiseness. I love the author's storytelling techniques, plot twists, and characterization, some parts are hilarious while some are emotional. The writing style is distinctive and engrossing in a way that it reads like a movie, it reminded me of Fuminori Nakamura's The Thief. I shall restrict from revealing further as an attempt to keep this review spoiler-free but I'd love to recommend this book to lovers of crime thrillers, urban fiction, and literature at large.

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