Thursday, August 18, 2016

In the Barren Ground by Loreth Anne White

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...

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

I absolutely loved this wonderfully spooky horror story. Inuit legends come to life as winter sets in an isolated arctic community. For new RCMP officer Tana, the grisly murder of two university researchers is the first sign of trouble in her new community. As the lone law enforcement officer in an increasingly threatening environment, Tana must choose where to place her trust. And for most of this story, everyone is suspect. Between aboriginal hunters, corrupt officials, and bush pilots with suspicious pasts, Tana must seek justice without alienating the tight knit community she polices.

The author brings the Canadian arctic to life beautifully, highlighting the unique combination of isolation and codependency in northern communities. The difficulties faced by outsiders in the north is fascinating and I really enjoyed watching as Tana is forced to adapt her policing style for the Arctic. Tana is a refreshingly strong and complex female lead and her development as a character is fascinating.

The mystery or horror story is compelling. Hints and clues are tangled with madness and legends. None of the characters are who they first appear to be and I loved trying to tease truth out of the contradictory information presented to Tana. I didn’t guess the ending until it happened which annoyed me slightly until I read back through a few passages and realised that I had missed a few clues earlier in the story.

The last few chapters are thrilling. The isolated arctic wilderness makes for a terrifying game of cat and mouse and I thought the tension built perfectly in this book. I can’t recommend this story highly enough!

Loreth Anne White is an award-winning author of romantic suspense, thrillers, and mysteries. She has won the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for Romantic Suspense, the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the Romantic Crown for Best Romantic Suspense and Best Book Overall. In addition, she has been a two-time RITA finalist, a Booksellers’ Best finalist, a multiple Daphne Du Maurier Award finalist, and a multiple CataRomance Reviewers’ Choice Award winner. A former journalist and newspaper editor who has worked in both South Africa and Canada, she now resides in the Pacific Northwest with her family.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of In the Barren Ground by Loreth Anne White to read and review.

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