Blue, a serial killer, has the townsfolk of Cleary, North Carolina, scared. Five women with no discernible common traits have been murdered. Investigating the crime is the Chief of Police, Dutch Burton. His focus is muddled by the fact his wife, Lilly, wants a divorce. He desperately wants to reconcile, but she is through with him.
Lilly is at their recently-sold mountain cabin gathering the last of her things when a freak snowstorm hits. Needing to get out of Cleary, she heads into the storm only to strike an unexpected hiker and crash her car. The hiker, Ben Tierney, is injured and her car is totaled. Together they make their way back up to the cabin. Lilly manages to get a single call for help to Dutch before the storm makes communication impossible.
Dutch, realizing she is stranded with Ben, who is a murder suspect, is crazy with worry and jealousy. But the snow makes it impossible for him to get to her. Meanwhile, the FBI is investigating and their leads point to Ben.
Back in the cabin, Lilly suspects Ben is Blue. The fact the pair is sexually excited by one another adds to the tension. Further she has asthma and is forced to rely on him to save her life.
Is Tierney Blue? If so, will Dutch be able to save Lilly's life and reconcile their marriage?
Ms. Brown does a great job of keeping the tension and suspense high in Chill Factor. Between Lilly and Ben, Dutch's jealousy, and the other characters in the book there is never a dull moment.
That said, the plot, for me, was over the top. (**Spoilers** An English teacher is having sex with her student. The high school coach/town mayor is having sex with a variety of underage girls including his son's girlfriend. And why Ben didn't just tell Lilly who he was, didn't make sense. Of course if he had, it would have sucked the tension out of their scenes.)
With that said, my interest stayed riveted and I kept turning the pages until the climactic end.
Five women are missing from the sleepy mountain town of Cleary, North Carolina, and a blue ribbon has been left near where each woman was last seen. Lilly Martin has returned to Cleary to close the sale of her cabin. But when her car skids and strikes a stranger, Ben Tierney, as he emerges from the woods, they've no choice but to wait out a brutal blizzard in the cabin. And as the hours of their confinement mount, Lilly wonders if the greater threat to her safety isn't the storm, but the stranger beside her....