The North Face of the Heart is a gripping thriller with a twist

The North Face of the Heart by Dolores Redondo. Photo: Sarabeth Pollock
The North Face of the Heart by Dolores Redondo. Photo: Sarabeth Pollock /

Like the days before a hurricane hits, Dolores Redondo’s The North Face of the Heart begins slowly, taking time to establish its foundation before hitting with brutal force as the story picks up. This is the story of Redondo’s beloved detective Amaia Salazar in her early days. Immediately haunting and compelling, The North Face of the Heart sends the past colliding with the present as truths are uncovered and reconciled in the face of the hunt for a brutal serial killer.

Dolores Redondo is a global bestselling author, with a Netflix series based on her Baztán Trilogy, the series of books that feature Amaia Salazar later in life doing what she does best. Now she’s taking a step back to explore Amaia’s complex early adventures with a prequel set against the harrowing backdrop of Katrina as New Orleans prepared for the biggest threat to ever hit.

Though she’s already a talented detective in Spain, Amaia comes to the US to work with the FBI in an exchange program, where she quickly learns that they have been watching her and they need her help.The FBI is there investigating a serial killer, known as the Composer, and they’re trying to catch him before he reaches his final act. While Amaia is on the case, things are happening back home in Spain that keep bringing long-buried memories to the fore.

The North Face of the Heart dazzles with its intensity and humanity

If it had only focused on Amaia’s work trying to solve the case it would have been a great story. But Redondo takes things even further by introducing the head agent on the case, Aloisius Dupress, a New Orleans native who knows that there’s something else happening in the city ahead of Katrina and they’re in a race against time to stop it.

The North Face of the Heart by Dolores Redondo. Photo: Sarabeth Pollock
The North Face of the Heart by Dolores Redondo. Photo: Sarabeth Pollock /

Redondo introduces a supernatural element to the story, but it’s only supernatural to people who don’t understand the complexities of life deep in the bayou. Dupree might be a top-ranking federal agent, but he’s compelled to help because he was caught in the middle of it when he was younger.

Amaia and Dupreehave help from two local police officers whose love for their city knows no bounds, and together they try to solve two cases while also trying to survive in the middle of New Orleans during Katrina.

I’d never read Redondo’s work prior to encountering The North Face of the Heart, but from the very first pages I was hooked by her masterful and complex storytelling that leads readers down a path that’s so compelling there’s no chance of putting the book down.

Next. Interview with Lies We Bury author Elle Marr. dark

You don’t need to be familiar with Redondo’s Baztán Trilogy to understand the events of The North Face of the Heart, which was first published in Spanish in 2019 and is now available to English speaking fans with this newly available translation from Michael Meigs. As the prequel, this book will likely enhance the reading experience for fans of the Baztán Trilogy and newcomers to the stories.