This Chick Read: In the Barren Ground by Loreth Anne White

I picked up this book because I received an email from Amazon declaring it their pick for best romance of the year. This book was surprising in many ways.  The first being that I wouldn’t necessarily call this book a romance.  There was a romance, but it was only a sub plot to the intricately wrought, brutal, murder mystery that I found myself enmeshed in.  Yes, this book was fantastic, I agree!  But it was a murder mystery in the same vein as Fargo. In fact as I was reading it, I thought it was funny that the main character, rookie cop Tana Larsson, called the little city she found herself living in very Twin Peaks-ish.

Tana Larson is only 24, sent in to the Barrens of Northern Canada because she speaks a little known dialect native to that area. As a cop, she is not welcomed into the locals inner circle and is having difficulty fitting in. She is working the town alone, when a couple of students get mauled by wolves out in the wilderness. She is taken out to the scene by an eccentric bush pilot named Crash to investigate the scene alone. She catalogs the grisly findings, taking pictures and interviewing unwelcoming natives. As she is investigating  she misinterprets some things about Crash, putting him solidly in the bad guy category. It isn’t until 250 pages into the book, that she starts to welcome his help in her investigations, and yes, he becomes a possible love interest.

Tana, through these investigations, links some older murders to these maulings, and comes to the attention of the killer who begins to stalk her.  Oh, and did I mention that she is also five months pregnant? Yep! This novel is packed with interesting characters, a gruesome murder, some great native mythology, and an unlikely heroine who totally grew on me. Tana grew up in horrible circumstances, and even though slipping into self doubt occasionally, she found an inner strength to carry on, wanting to become a part of this tribe she found herself living with, and to protect them all from a murderer who looked like might be one of their own. Read this book. It surprised me, and it will surprise you.  In the best way possible.


Buy it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble!

Copyright 2016 Deborah Kehoe A Chick Who Reads All Rights Reserved