Saturday, September 24, 2016

Review ~ IN THE BARREN GROUND by Loreth Anne White

In the Barren Ground
by: Loreth Anne White
Genre: Romantic Suspense/Thriller
Release Date: August 16, 2016
Source: Montlake via NetGalley

In the Barrens, a vast wilderness in northern Canada bordering the Arctic Circle, night consumes every hour of the winter. Humans are scarce; ferocious predators roam freely. Locals say spirits do, too.

Rookie cop Tana Larsson doesn’t mind the dark and quiet. Five months pregnant and hoping to escape the mistakes of her past, she takes a post in Twin Rivers, population 320. Maybe here she can find peace and community for her child.

But with her superior out of commission, Tana becomes the sole police officer in 17,500 square miles. One bitter night, she gets a call about the fatal wolf mauling of two students, and the only way to reach the remote scene is to enlist the help of the arrogant, irritatingly handsome Cameron “Crash” O’Halloran, a local bush pilot with a shady reputation for smuggling and a past cloaked in shadow.

When the macabre scene they uncover suggests violence much more sinister than animal, Tana must trust Crash if she wants to protect the town—and herself—from the evil that lurks in the frozen dark.

IN THE BARREN GROUND, a dark, atmospheric romance and police procedural with gothic/horror overtones set in a remote fly-in community just south of the arctic circle ...


I have read a few novels by Loreth Anne White.  In the Barren Ground is by far the most intense and gruesome one.  I only say that because the serial killer isn’t opposed to killing women, children, or dogs.  Several people are decapitated, disemboweled, and lose their eyes.  There is nothing pretty about what happens in the Twin Rivers First Nations community in Canada.  Consequently, if you aren’t interested in looking deep into the soul of a depraved killer, this book is not for you.  Although there is somewhat of a budding love story intermingled, death is the main course on this menu.

In the Barren Ground is the story of Royal Canadian Mounted Police Constable Tana Larsson and her investigation into the deaths of two researchers that appear to have been killed by wild animals.  Of course, her investigation begins to point to something much more sinister than man’s brush with nature.  In addition, Tana is trying to hide the fact that she is pregnant while trying to gain the town’s respect as well as respecting herself.  Then things become more complicated as she has several run-ins with Cameron “Crash” O’Halloran who is one of the local pilots and a low level drug dealer or is he?  There are so many different issues that this book addresses, it should be hard to keep up but the Loreth Anne White does a really good job of keeping the reader on track while all of the mysteries are unfolded.  Tana is portrayed as a woman that has made a lot of bad decisions in her life and she is looking for redemption.  She quickly finds that she is not alone in her journey. One problem is that she is the only law enforcement person in the area for now.  I couldn’t help but hope that everything works out for her but I winced every time she continued to put herself and her baby in harm’s way.  Back-up was at least two hours away if they decide to show up at all.

I really liked the complexity of this book.  There was a lot of psychological elements that helped to add to the mystery and intrigue.  The plot twists keep you guessing until the very end and then things get much more intense than I anticipated.  There were some heartbreaking things that happen and I couldn’t help but feel like Loreth Anne wanted to make it clear that no one was safe and this was not going to be a situation where everyone galloped off into the sunset.  The scars will run deep even for the reader.

**Received a copy from Montlake Romance in exchange for an honest unbiased opinion.**

Rating: 5

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