Ann Turner

Out of the Ice - Synopsis and Reviews

By the bestselling author of The Lost Swimmer, a tense, eerie thriller set in the icy reaches of Antarctica

Shortlisted for the 2017 Ned Kelly Awards - Best Crime Fiction.

When environmental scientist Laura Alvarado is sent to a remote Antarctic island to report on an abandoned whaling station, she begins to uncover more than she could ever imagine. 

Reminders of the bloody, violent past are everywhere, and Laura is disturbed by evidence of recent human interference. Rules have been broken, and the protected wildlife is behaving strangely. 

On a diving expedition, Laura emerges into an ice cave where she is shocked to see an anguished figure, crying for help. But in this freezing, lonely landscape there are ghosts everywhere, and Laura wonders if her own eyes can be trusted. Has she been in the ice too long? 

Back at base, Laura’s questions about the whaling station go unanswered, blocked by scientists unused to outsiders. And Laura just can’t shake what happened in the cave. 

Piecing together a past and present of cruelty and vulnerability that can be traced around the world, from Norway, to Nantucket, Europe and Antarctica, Laura will stop at nothing to unearth the truth. As she comes face to face with the dark side of human progress, she also discovers a legacy of love, hope and the meaning of family. If only Laura can find her way... 

Out of the ice.

Kobo - The Best Books of 2016

Better Reading’s Book of the Week June 21st 2016

iBooks Australia Best Books of June 2016

Kobo Mystery & Suspense Pick of the Month, Best Books of the Month, June 2016

Newslink Pick of the Month, Literary Fiction, June 2016

Collins Booksellers Fiction Book of the Month, June 2016

Good Reading Book Club Pick of the Month, June 2016

The Antarctic setting, remote and cold, makes this a beautiful and atmospheric story. Laura is an Australian scientist tasked with documenting an abandoned whaling station, but a sighting of a young boy in an ice cave sets off a dangerous train of events. The freezing beauty of Antarctica contrasts with the bleak, cruel nature of the people Laura encounters as she uncovers the mystery.

Excerpt from Judge’s comments, Ned Kelly awards - posted by Jean Bedford, The Newtown Review of Books

‘Ann Turner delivers another brilliant suspense novel with Out of the Ice, solidifying her position as one of Australia’s best thriller writers. Turner has an unrivalled skill in creating intelligent characters and plots while at the same time evoking breathtaking settings that seamlessly transport her readers to another world… A master of trickery, Turner employs cunning and clever devices in this irresistible book, leaving readers guessing until the very last pages. Out of the Ice is ambitious in scope and Turner far exceeds expectations, delivering a compelling and enormously satisfying thrill ride. But it is more than a perfectly crafted thriller; it’s a wonderful exploration of character, love, loss and redemption.’

Cheryl Akle, Better Reading

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‘Turner is a steely and confident writer, concerned in the main part with reeling her reader in and out of suspense with a sense of concentrated exhilaration. The big reveal of this novel is certainly gasp-inducing… Out of the Ice is a cinematic page-turner that’s well worth the price of admission to the movie house of fiction.’

Katherine Gillespie, Weekend Australian
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‘Her debut novel The Lost Swimmer was one of the most intelligent thrillers of last year, and now Australian author Ann Turner is back with her follow-up: a taut and tightly wound page-turner about a scientist who uncovers a grisly crime at an abandoned whaling station.’

Marie Claire


‘Screenwriter Ann Turner dazzled us with her first novel, 2015’s The Lost Swimmer. Her new book is another clever, cinematic thriller involving a body of water and an impending sense of dread… Out of the Ice is a fantastically eerie and suspenseful read.’

Apple iBooks Editors’ Notes, Best Books of June

Turner builds the suspense with ease… History and mystery combine to produce a compelling thriller.

Adelaide Advertiser - Shelley Orchard

Turner, who is also a screenwriter, is in fine form here, exploring silence and secrets, male and female ways of relating and exploitation and grief.

The West Australian - Amanda Ellis


Powerful psychological drama… a true thriller chiller; a tense, menacing mystery which explores the troubled history of whaling, the darker side of human nature, and stars a haunted heroine escaping personal tragedy and yearning for the sense of belonging that anchors human lives but which has so far proved elusive.

Turner’s career in the film industry has given her a heightened sense of visual drama and this suspense-packed, fast-moving thriller delivers a rollercoaster ride through despair, discovery and death from one of the harshest and most uncompromising corners of our planet to the warmer climes of Italy... These are places brought stunningly alive by Turner’s taut and yet surprisingly lyrical storytelling as we follow the dedicated, determined but achingly vulnerable Laura on a mission into the heart of evil, and on a journey of self-discovery through love, grief and hope.

With its immaculately researched storyline and compelling blend of science, intrigue, romance and real history, Out of the Ice is the perfect companion for the dark autumn nights.

Pam Norfolk - Lancashire Evening Post


Ann Turner is a writer who excels in creating an overwhelming sense of place, and her descriptions of Antarctica in particular are so beautifully rendered you may feel the need to don a woolly hat and mittens to read them!

This page-turner is about love, loss, family ties, friendship, global warming and greed, set against epic landscapes. It has been thoroughly researched… the mix of almost documentary-style detail added to tantalising hints of the supernatural had me hooked from the first few chapters.

Crime Fiction Lover - Death Becomes Her

The great strength of this place-based thriller is its cinematic quality, moving deftly from scene to scene in the vividly realised and dramatic landscapes of Antarctica, Nantucket, and Venice.

The Sydney Morning Herald - Kerryn Goldsworthy 

Antarctica is one of the planet’s last great wilderness areas - for some, a place ripe for plundering, for others, an area that must be protected… Ann Turner’s Out of the Ice uses the point of view of environmentalist Laura Alvarado to reveal both the wonder and the threats within this amazing landscape… As with Turner’s debut novel The Lost Swimmer, in Out of the Ice she’s created a very flawed, human and fragile central character… The locations leap from the page - whether they are the human habitats (occupied and deserted) or the wildlife colonies. 

Both of Turner’s novels show distinct similarities in that their sense of place is so strong, their central characters are not straightforward… and the threats are well-executed and creepily evil.

Karen Chisholm - The Newtown Review of Books

‘This gripping thriller exposes a dark side of human nature but reveals a newfound hope in love and family.’



‘This is one of those page-turning thrillers that you simply cannot put down. For me there is nothing better than combining a book about the Antarctic (high on my bucket list of places I must visit) and a really good thriller.’



‘I have to say this book really got me in. I loved the setting, the cold and ice, I loved Laura and Kate, and I loved the ending. Very satisfying.’

Janice Wilder, The Wilder Aisles, Gleebooks Gleaners - Janice Wilder has been a legend of Sydney bookselling for over 40 years.


‘I always feel a strong connection to Turner’s protagonists (despite, and sometimes because of, their flaws) and was particularly moved by the closing chapters as Laura solves the mystery of the island but also reaches her own emotional resolution.’

Amanda Rayner, Readings 


‘A truly original and terrifically gripping thriller set in Antarctica with side visits to the U.S. and Venice. History, science and the dark underbelly of modern crime all combine together in this highly addictive read that I devoured in a couple of days.’

Lynne, Dymocks Rouse Hill


‘Antarctica is the superstar in Aussie screenwriter and director Ann Turner’s cracking new mystery Out of the Ice, and what an untapped well this beautifully stark setting is. Environmental scientist Laura Alvarado is sent to a busy Antarctic base from where she must inspect an old abandoned whaling village and report back as to its tourism potential… The description of the village in astonishing shades of a bubble’s rainbow is utterly captivating, and a side journey to Nantucket is a delight. The danger of such an isolated place makes Antarctica the perfect location for life-or-death situations, and Turner has made the most of the star of this compelling action adventure.’

Shari Tagliabue, Weekend Post, Cairns and Townsville Bulletin

‘I became totally submerged in Laura’s character and at times felt suffocated at the idea of being in a place such as this and not knowing who she could or could not trust…  A sub plot that goes into detail about the history of whaling practices in Antarctica and the families involved, adds yet another lavish layer of what is already a mouth watering piece of literature… As with her first novel, Ann takes the reader on a roller coaster ride with beautiful descriptive writing. A story that takes you from the stark and barren landscape of Antarctica, to the bustling city of Venice, this tale of intrigue and mystery will have you enthralled until the last page.

Sharon, Review Corner
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‘The characters were so well-drawn that I felt I knew them, and the eerie cold Antarctic setting was both intriguing and chilling, literally… I particularly loved one paragraph that really resonated with me, and, in context, spoke of the tenuous link between life and death, purity and destruction for both humans and nature - Migration. A shifting world. The sea of humanity seeking new homes. We were lucky to be here… What a treat to read. Lovers of suspense, mystery and literature will be well catered for with this book.’

Helen Golz, The Reviewers 

Put simply, I loved this book!... There are plenty of twists and turns in this novel that will keep the reader engaged right to the end.’

Dayna, The Reader’s Domain

‘A cracker of a read. Beautifully written, suspenseful, haunting… I recommend for lovers of a good mystery, those interested in the Antarctic and what drives humans to do both great and terrible things.’

Karen Brooks - via Netgalley 

‘I was absolutely captivated by the book and could not tear myself away, feeling transported into a different world from which I surfaced only reluctantly for food and water… Highly recommended.’

Heidi …But Books Are Better

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‘A gripping thriller which I literally flew through … A fabulous and unique plot… the mystery and suspense surrounding the characters was well crafted and I thoroughly enjoyed the ride. Great entertainment… I have no hesitation in recommending highly.’

Brenda Telford via Netgalley

Out of the Ice sweeps the reader into larger-than-life events that span three continents and sees Laura travelling from Antarctica, to Nantucket (where the founders of the Fredelighavn spent the Northern Summer), to Venice; in each location, Turner creates scenes in vivid and loving detail. I read the novel from start to finish in a day… Out of the Ice is sure to please fans of Ann Turner’s first novel, The Lost Swimmer and deserves to attract many more readers. It’s an excellent, well-written, fast-paced read.’

Elizabeth Lhuede, Devoted Eclectic