Monday 20 May 2024

An Unforgiving Place / Claire Kells


3.8 out of 5 stars 

I really enjoyed this book despite some misgivings about some plot details. The Alaskan wilderness is very much a major part of this story, which was a plus for me. The isolation and the extreme riskiness of being out there caused me angst, even without murders and other events. The plot tension was relentless, requiring me to take breaks regularly. Close the book, do something calming, breathe.

Now for the niggles that bothered me. First was the notion of a fertility cult based in Alaska. Seriously, if you're running a “Let me impregnate your wife" business, wouldn't it make sense to be closer to population centres? How many people can afford to fly to Alaska and rent a bunch of gear? I suppose if you live in the back of beyond and spend a lot of time camping in the wilderness with your clients, maybe you don't need gobs of money. Generally, however, if you're running a scam you're very into making as much cash as you possibly can.

Okay, second negative: I'm getting very mixed signals about Felicity and Hux's relationship. Felicity's husband is missing, albeit for a long time. She assumes Kevin is dead but isn't absolutely sure. Also, she's quite convinced that Hux is seeing someone, an anthropologist or archaeologist. She's highly aware that she's Hux's senior officer and of the regulations that forbid romantic relationships between staff. And yet she seems to be catching feelings for him. I feel uneasy about this and much prefer their strictly friendly and professional bond in the first book. I do appreciate that Felicity is trying to resist the pull and I hope that Kells doesn't take us there simply to have a romantic element to the series. Not every mystery requires a romance!

Despite my reservations, I did find the book engaging. I will certainly read the third book when I get the chance.

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