Fresh Meat: Grimm-The Icy Touch by John Shirley

Grimm- The Icy Touch by John Shirley is the first book in the paranormal mystery media tie-in series based on the show, Grimm (available November 5, 2013).

I can’t tell you how geeked I was when I first heard about Grimm. I like my urban fantasy with a side serving of mystery and since the cancellation of The Dresden Files, there hadn’t been anything on television that filled that niche. When a Twitter link offered a code for a “special preview” of the series pilot, I logged on eagerly. When the show opened with a girl in a red hoodie being abducted from a jogging path in an absolutely gorgeous Portland park, I was so there.

I continued to be engaged as a bravely bald Kate Burton showed up towing a trailer of ancient weapons and books filled with arcane lore. And when the hour ended with a twist I did not see coming—and I’m pretty good at seeing twist endings coming—I was ready to become a fan.

In the subsequent weeks though, I was often disappointed. For one thing, although the show’s writers hinted at larger backstories for the characters, particularly the enigmatic Captain Renard, most of the episodes were “Wesen of the Week” and that got boring.

Also, and no disrespect intended toward actor Silas Weir Mitchell, who’s great—the writers fell in love with their laid-back blutbad character and turned him into “Fonzie,” to the detriment of all the other characters. (Seriously, when are they going to give Reggie Lee something more to do than be comic relief? I once saw him playing a silky, sinister gangster in a Jason Statham movie and he rocked the part.)

I kept watching the show, though, because I liked the mythology and I liked the characters and I just like urban fantasy with a side of mystery. Call it a guilty pleasure.

The most satisfying episode in the first season, for me, was “Three Coins in a Fuchsbau,” written by series creators David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf. The coins of the title are powerful artifacts known as “the Coins of Zakynthos” and they’re the Grimm equivalent of “the precious” in Lord of the Rings and the Spear of Destiny rolled into one. Anyone who touches the coins is corrupted by their power and ultimately destroyed.

Which brings us to this book by John Shirley, a novel based on the characters and concepts of the television show. Shirley, a Bram Stoker Award winner, writes dark fiction in multiple genres and he “gets” the world of Grimm and reflects it back like a dark mirror.

The show’s fans will be delighted by the introduction of the coins in the prologue but the story will also engage readers who have never watched a single episode with its fantasy-history take on Napoleon’s fall from glory.

In many ways he felt it would be doing his friend a service, in the long run, if he could get the coins away from him. Once he’d lost the Coins of Zakynthos, Napoleon might lose heart. He had become dependent on them. Without them, he would likely lose the battle—a defeat that Kessler’s employer desired—and perhaps Napoleon would be saved from the madness and physical deterioration contact with the coins would inevitably bring.

When the story switches to modern-day Portland (where Shirley grew up), the novelist brings on the weird as a burned body clutching a donut box (from a place that’s clearly a shout-out to Portland’s famous “Voodoo Donuts”) leads to a much, much bigger criminal conspiracy.

“Ice.” Renard nodded to himself. “Here.” He pushed a folder on his desk toward them. “This is for your eyes only. It’s all I’ve got on The Icy Touch. Ever hear about them?” “Nope.” Nick looked at Hank, who shook his head. “Not likely you’d have heard much,” Renard said. “They were out of business, for a long time. And when they were active they were smalltime, compared to the mafia. Kind of an offshoot of the Hasslich, going way back.” “The Hasslich…” The name struck a chill through Nick. It was an organization that existed only to kill Grimms. “Great.” “Grimms aren’t an Icy Touch priority, especially now,” Renard said. “They’ve got some other agenda. I keep reading between the lines on FBI reports, and Interpol—I suspect it’s gone Wesen.”

Shirley nails the characters from the show, and in one beautifully written sequence, goes inside Monroe’s mind so readers can experience Portland through the heightened senses of the blutbad:

A misty dusk. Monroe stood on his front porch and sniffed the October air. Across the street was Forest Park, 5,100 acres of wildness on the west edge of Portland, where shadows were gathering like flocks of dark birds. The sun was going down beyond the park; the line of firs and deciduous trees broke up the reddening sunlight into a trembling coinage of scarlet-gold. Forest Park, his second home.

Monroe inhaled deeply, taking in the woodland’s damp exhalation, parsing the scents with a clarity an ordinary human could only dream of.


Overtop were the distinct fragrances of evergreens, western red cedar, Douglas fir, western yew, grand fir, all mingled with the decay-rich scents of fallen leaves from black cottonwood, bigleaf maple, red alder; piquant notes of wild blackberries and salmonberries struck through like thorns on a vine. He scented dozens of varieties of mushrooms and tree fungus; he caught the smells of Oregon Grape, trillium, Morning Glory and… Hooker’s Fairy Bells. That one made him smile.

The “guest stars” in the book are also dimensional, particularly a small-time thug named Santiago who’s recruited from an outfit called Sombre Corazon (shadow Heart) to serve the Icy Touch. It’s a matter of self-preservation for Santiago. “He did not want to be eaten. Especially not eaten alive.”

The Icy Touch offers readers the best of both worlds; for fans of the show, it provides a deeper and richer look at the characters and the legends, for readers new to the world, it’s a great introduction and a stand-alone story that has its own pleasures. It does not disappoint.

See more new releases at our Fresh Meat feature page.


To learn more, or order a copy, visit:

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This Sweepstakes has ended.

To enter for a chance to win a copy of  Grimm: The Icy Touch by John Shirley make sure you're a registered member of the site and simply leave a comment below.

TIP: Since only comments from registered users will be tabulated, if your user name appears in red above your comment—STOP—go log in, then try commenting again. If your user name appears in black above your comment, You’re In!

The Icy Touch Comment Sweepstakes: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.  A purchase does not improve your chances of winning.  Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States, D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec), who are 18 years or older as of the date of entry.  To enter, complete the “Post a Comment” entry  at beginning at 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) November 4, 2013. Sweepstakes ends at 2:29 p.m. ET November 11, 2013. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law.  Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor: Macmillan, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.


Katherine Tomlinson lives in Los Angeles in an apartment where her TBR pile has its own bookcase. She writes dark fiction but has a soft spot for cozy mysteries, heroic fantasy, and horror novels where only bad people get killed. She is the author of the upcoming novel Misbegotten.

Read all posts by Katherine Tomlinson for Criminal Element.


  1. James Gysin

    Are you aware that there is also an ongoing GRIMM comic book from Dynamite? It’s not too shabby, actually. Ironically, the first volume there is also about the Coins of Zakynthos.

  2. jennifer riggs

    I would love to win this!!

  3. dreak70

    Big fan of the show–can’t wait to read this!

  4. Carolyn Dileo

    Looks amazing!

  5. Shannon Baas

    Looks like a good book.

  6. Melissa Kerwin

    Good Show

  7. Steven Wilber

    Really enjoy the show

  8. Pam Howell

    Love the show. The book hopefully will be as good as the show.

  9. Kay Gornick

    Hmmmmm. Interesting to try same subject in two medias.

  10. Holly Kennedy

    Great show. I bet the book is better.

  11. Jeffrey Tretin

    Book sounds great!

  12. Shane

    Sounds like a great book. Love fan fiction that embellishes and expands a plotline from a show. Great idea, Mr. Shirley!

  13. Pamela Romero

    I love this show! The book sounds absolutely wonderful.

  14. John Peterson

    The coins remind me of winning lottery tickets, they corupt all.

  15. Donna Bivens

    OH, how I love Grimm! This would be a wonderful gift.

  16. Vicki Hancock

    So want to read!

  17. Karen Terry

    I don’t watch Grimm on tv, but I would like to read it.

  18. vickie dailey

    haven’t been able to catch the show – love the fairly tales – can this book stand alone even though it is a tie-in? If not I’m sure I can watch it on Demand – thanks for the great chances to win.

  19. Jeff Schroeder

    Awesome, can’t wait to dive into this book.

  20. Mike zinn

    WOW! Grimm and John Shirley. Can’t beat that combination. I’m a big fan of both.

  21. Janice

    Would love to win.

  22. Deb Mosora

    Love the show. Would love to read the book.

  23. Bhilden

    Whole family loves the show, can’t wait to read the book.

  24. Richard Derus

    I think the show’s got something and hope the books will too.

  25. Deborah Dumm

    I am most definitely going to read this book. I love the show!!!!

  26. Kristen Heyl

    I didn’t realize there was a book series that went with the tv show. I love the show so I am sure I would love the books.

  27. Andra Dalton

    Kids and I have been glued to tv since Grimm first aired and never miss an episode!! Now I find out there’s a book that goes along with series!! Can’t wait to read!! Thanks for contest & good luck to all!!:0)

  28. Jennifer Beers

    I love this TV series!! I hope the book is as great as the show!!! I can’t wait to read the book!!!!

  29. Laurence Coven

    John Shirley has been around for a long time–this looks like a branching out for him

  30. Lynn Jarrett

    Grimm is so creepy, but I like it. I look forward to reading the book!!

  31. Linda Knowles

    Sounds Awesome! I would LOVE to win this!

  32. Vernon Luckert

    My son would love this book!

  33. Patricia Hill

    love this show

  34. patricia lambert

    this sounds great

  35. Johanna Bouchard

    Sounds awesome, would love to win this! Thanks for the giveaway 😉

  36. Michael Carter

    Sounds good!
    Please enter me.

  37. carencay bowen

    can’t wait – love the series.

  38. warrior1

    Great contest – I hope I win!

  39. Alice

    Please enter me…I’d love to read this!

  40. ravensfan

    Would love to win this.

  41. Marie-Louise Molloy

    Love the show and want to WIN!!!!

  42. Allison Moyer

    I’ve never seen the show, but it sounds fantastic! I’m going to have to check it out, and I’d love to read this book. Thanks for the giveaway!

  43. Mary Ann Brady

    Love the show and I’m sure I’ll love the book. Thx.

  44. Karl Stenger

    I am a fan of the show and can’t wait to read the book

  45. Joanne Mielczarski

    I love this show so I can’t wait to read this book.

  46. Charles Fraker

    The show is okay but a book by John Shirley has to be good. Sign me up!

  47. Tracy Lech

    I love how the fairy tales get an update. Most are just people trying to get by. I would love to read the book.

  48. Maryann Cook

    I’m pretty sure I haven’t missed an episode since this show began. Really like it and would love to read the book.

  49. paul sproul

    Great to see fantasy making TV comeback . I hope books live up to the show.

  50. G K

    Thanks for the giveaway! I love the show!

  51. susan beamon

    I’ve watched odd episodes of this show and it’s okay. It conflicts with another series I like better, but I do watch when I can. Would rather read the book.

  52. Julie Couture

    Thanks for the giveaway offer.

  53. Donna M H.

    Very cool that they are in print now!

  54. Susan Mahaffey

    I must say that I am so happy to hear about this book! I would love to read it! I love the tv show. I have found that the book is always better than the show!!!

  55. Jeanette Barney

    My husband and I really like the show, and I am anxious to read the book!

  56. Pat Murphy

    I love this program. It is such a change from all the stupid reality shows. — I watch for escape from the daily grind. Would love to read this book.

  57. Linda Peavy

    Love Grimm! So glad it’s back on!

  58. Jo Beth Dempsey

    Now I loved Kate Burton’s character on Grimm and I really wish they hadn’t killed off Adalind’s mother. I thought she had great potential as a long term character.

  59. Johannah Brookwell

    Looks like another good one!!

  60. Florry M. D.

    Would love to read it & discover the mysteries.

  61. becky wollenslegel

    I Love this show

  62. Timothy Anderson

    Would love to win this for my wife, she’s a big fan of the show.

  63. Bruce Hamilton

    Love the show but the book sounds better.


  64. L L

    Interesting show

  65. Dan Carr

    I worked as an Extra on this show for 5 episodes before ever seeing any of it. Would love to read this.

  66. Donna B

    I love the series, I think I would have to love the book.

  67. Julie McDonough

    I was hooked on Grimm from the first episode. I would love to read this book.

  68. Kimberly Mayberry

    My daughters and I LOVE the GRIMM TV show! We are all avid readers and this would be a cherished book at our house! I would love to win it!

  69. Shona Leonard

    Like the show and love any and all books.

  70. Erin Hartshorn

    I haven’t seen the show yet, but I have to say these coins remind me of the ones Jim Butcher used (the denarii) in the Dresden Files. I’d love the chance to read more about them.

  71. vicki wurgler

    thanks I’d love to read this

  72. Diane Stedner

    Sounds like an awesome read. I would love the chance to add this to my TBR pile. Thank you.

  73. Ronald Roseborough

    I love the show. Hope the book is as good.

  74. Desmond Warzel

    Count me in, please!

  75. Kris Kaminski

    Books! are allways Better!

  76. Denise Bacher

    I wonder what my 14yo daughter would think of this book. She loves this show, so I am thinking she would really like it.

    And, of course, I know I would read it. I am an avid reader of EVERY genre. And, with my Kindle broken, I need to read actual books again.

  77. Tiffany Duncan

    This looks interesting.

  78. Ellen

    Born and raised in Portland OR. Love the show want the book.

  79. ronframpton

    a scarey book and a dark night nothing better !

  80. Dantzr

    Finally!!! Tha book has arrived!!!

  81. Mike Morris

    Finally!!! The book has arrived!!!

  82. Merikay Noah

    Yay! A paranormal mystery series tied to the Grimm TV series?! Pardon me while I get a napkin to wipe away the drool. I can hardly wait!

  83. Vicki Kennedy

    I’m a big fan of the show. Would love to win this!

  84. dawn k

    looks good

  85. Cheryl English

    Thanks for the chance. Good Luck Everyone!

  86. Vicky Boackle

    looks great.

  87. Sonia Grgas

    Please count me in – thanks!

  88. Derek Balaam

    Looks like a great read!

  89. Kelley Tackett

    I watch anything with Silas Weir Mitchell. I can’t wait to read this book. Thanks for hosting these contests.

  90. Kathy Sparks

    I love the show

  91. rs2

    I like urban fantasy / occult detective admixtures too.

    Is there a reason the book cover shown above doesn’t match the one displayed on Amazon? (Is one of them an early proof that was discarded in favor of the other? Which one?)

    As far there not being anything that counts as “urban fantasy with a side serving of mystery” on TV since The Dresden Files, you should note that a large percentage of Supernatural‘s episodes (albeit not all of them) do have that sort of investigatory aspect to them.

  92. Irene Menge

    Sounds like something I’d really enjoy. Definitely on my TBR list.

  93. lynette barfield

    Love the TV show and this book sounds wonderful

  94. Karen Martin

    Our family loves watching Grimm and would probably enjoy the book just as much. Thanks

  95. Donna Bruno

    Well, of course, who wouldn’t want to win a copy of this?

  96. Heather Martin

    The e-book was fun. With good writing talent like Shirley the book series should be as good as the show for us fans.

  97. Heather Deluna

    Enjoy the TV show a lot, so I bet this would be fun too!

  98. Bryanna Winter

    Looks exciting!!

  99. Jeffrey Malis

    I enjoy the show and am looking forward to reading the book. Thanks for the giveaway!

  100. Lori JB

    This is a great giveway

  101. Christina Oseland

    Somehow I totally missed this show but it looks right up my alley

  102. Christina Oseland

    Somehow I totally missed this show but it looks right up my alley

  103. melanie Dion

    This is awesome. Thanks so much for the opportunity and great info.

  104. Julie Link

    fantastic contest – thanks for the opportunity

  105. Jaydee Dusenberry

    I cxould win this and be very very happy, or I could not win and release the flying monkeys….choose wisely

  106. lynette thompson

    I love Grimm, this is a great sweepstakes.

  107. Linda Peters

    Love the show and this would be great thanks

  108. Roger Simmons

    My wife loves this show and I would love to win this book for her!

  109. Heather B

    love the show! would reaslly like to read the book!

  110. Heather Burgess

    oops forgot to log in! I love the show, would really like to read the book!

  111. Mina Gerhart

    I love how the different Wessen are introduced and the characters have evolved.
    The show ROCKS, I’d like to read Grimm : The Icy Touch to learn more about the Coins of Zakynthos.

    Mindy 🙂

  112. Janine Sohnchen

    Thank you for the chance to win this book. Love the show!!

  113. Marisa Young

    Love the series. Would love to win the book.

  114. Justin Schroeder

    Looks great. Hope I win!

  115. Mike Rogers

    Looks great!

  116. Tina Page

    Looks right up my alley!

  117. Kimberly Hilbert

    I would love to read a book of the series.

  118. Daniel Morrell

    sounds like a fun one!

  119. Debra Kidle

    Great show, wanna read.

  120. David Kidle

    One of the best shows on tv right now. Didn’t know there was a book, cool!

  121. KIM HARDY

    Looks like a great book

  122. Tricha Leary

    love this show

  123. Barbara Lima

    My husband will love this!

  124. kathy pease

    Thank you for the great giveaway please count me in 🙂

  125. elaine fisher

    great gift idea … thanks

  126. Ed Nemmers

    I would like to read the work of John Shirley!

  127. Ed Nemmers

    I would like to read the work of John Shirley!

  128. alicia marie

    Love the show! Can’t wait to read the book : )

  129. Nicole Davis

    Love the show. So glad its back for another season.

  130. Wayne Lecoy

    I am entering your giveaway.
    It would be great to win a copy of
    Grimm-The Icy Touch by John Shirley.
    Thank you for having this giveaway!!!!!!!

  131. Lisa Pecora

    I love Grimm!

  132. Sand Lopez

    I’d love to read this!

  133. Karen Koziczkowski

    No I was not aware of the ongoing GRIMM comic book from Dynamite, but thanks to you, jimgysin, now I know, Thank You! I would love to read this book from the giveaway!. The show has its good points and its not so good points.

  134. Daniel Vice

    This would be great

  135. Tim Moss

    Grimm rocks! Give it me now! 🙂

  136. Buddy Garrett

    I love Grimm. I would love to read this book. It sounds very interesting.

  137. Heather Cowley

    Scary and interesting show. Would love to read some of the books, too!

  138. Arnold E Carroway II

    My favorite show. Would love to read the book series.

  139. Francine Anchondo

    love the show. i am sure i would love the book.

Comments are closed.