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.
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About the Book!
In the Barren Ground
by Loreth Anne White
August 16, 2016
When I first started this book, I wondered what I had gotten myself into. Since it had been awhile since I requested it, I went back and read the blurb and realized that it was going to be way different than how it started. So I happily settled in and ended up enjoying the read. Serial killer in the middle of the snowy wilderness near the artic circle in Canada? Add in a single, pregnant rookie cop with all the other cops away, and it made for some really suspenseful moments and a good mystery.
Tana Larson is new to the small community of Twin Rivers and is still getting her bearings. The town is rich in the natives of the north’s lore and customs, complete with a chief elder. Tana is half native, Dogrib, and half Scandinavian. People hunt, fish, and just in general live off the land for the most part, although a newer industry in the non-conflict diamond trade is beginning in the area. In order to get anywhere, people travel by plane, helicopter, snowmobile or dogsled. The days are short and the nights are very long. When a couple of biologists that are working in the area are killed horrifically and torn apart by wild animals, the question becomes-Did the animals tear them apart first, or were they murdered and than left for the wild animals? Tana is it, as far as any police presence and she is woefully under trained for this. However, she is good at her job and very observant. When she realizes that other murders had happened each year around the same date for the past few years, she has to prove what she feels to be true. Surrounding the whole thing are the never ending snowstorms that come in, one right after the other during the whole book.
I liked Tana as a character. She felt very real, and had a pretty horrible backstory. She’s made lots of mistakes and owns them. The biggest one was getting pregnant by a not so nice man, one that is her superior and could ruin her career. Other important characters include Crash O’Halleran, a pilot, older and disillusioned. He’s the reason for a lot of the illegal alcohol and weed in the area and everyone knows it. Another pilot, beautiful Heather MacAllistair, had a part to play in this as well. A nearby camp is full of men working to get more of the diamond business up and running. And the reader is introduced to some of these men as well. A big new lodge in the middle of the wilderness, owned by a very rich man, is also added in as part of the story. So we have a lot of different characters to pick from, among some red herrings as far as suspects.
This was very atmospheric most of the time with the long nights, the unrelenting snow and fog, all the while knowing a serial killer is at work. When the killer starts doing things to hurt Tana, the action ramps up considerably. And through it all, Crash is a character that becomes important to Tana. Romance? Of sorts, but nothing major, and no sexual scenes. I ended up really enjoying the read and it was a page turner most of the time. I recommend this to romantic suspense readers ages 16+ due to extreme violence and sexual situations talked about.
The review copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
About Loreth Anne White
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 is a three-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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