I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.In the Barren Ground by Loreth Anne White
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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 ...
As the sun cracked over the horizon a quiet befell the five occupants of the bright yellow AS355 Eurocopter Twin Squirrel, the words “Boreal Air” printed in the bold black letters beneath the craft’s belly.
What I thought of this book
You know how you sometimes find a book that just sounds interesting and it’s a new to you an author so you are not sure how it’s going to go. Then you start reading it and find yourself enthralled in what your reading and can’t wait to find out whodunit! That is what happened to me with In the Barren Ground.
Tana has pretty much been sent to Twin Rivers where they call it the Barrens because it’s close to the Arctic Circle as punishment. The days are short and it seems to do nothing but snow. When the storms get bad you better make sure you are somewhere safe or you could die. It’s a pretty nasty place to live but people do.
She is a young RCMP and her fiance killed himself leaving her feeling really bad. She coped with it the only way she knew how and she ended up pregnant with a married man’s child. He doesn’t want it and she almost got rid of it but she didn’t, so now here she is in the Barrens.
In the Barren Grounds starts out with two young scientists being taking out to a certain spot to do some work. They were tracking bears and getting samples. While doing so they are attacked by something. When Tana finds out about it, it’s dark and so she has to get someone to fly her out to the spot. The guy she was supposed to use was drunk so she has to rely on Crash a guy known for illegal transports and she is not happy about it but he is all she has.
It’s a gruesome scene and everyone thinks it’s a wolf or bear attack, but Tana notices something. The girls head had some things done to it that didn’t really fit with animal attack and her heart is missing. Everyone else seems to think that it’s just nature doing it’s thing, but she starts asking questions. She finds out about more attacks and finds some things that are similar with them.
There is a legend about the barrens and it’s local folklore with the people there. About a soul eater and someone even wrote a book about it called The Hunger. Tana doesn’t believe in monsters but she has an uneasy feeling that someone is using it and animals to cover their tracks.
The only person she has to rely on is Crash and she hates having to deal with him because she doesn’t like him. She doesn’t really trust him at first because she knows too much about his dealings around town.
Someone is not happy with her being so nosey because soon she starts getting threats. Cables cut to the phone lines at the police station, a deer’s eyeball stuck the door, etc. She has a list of suspects that consist of half the people in town. It’s about more than a young pregnant cop can handle.
In the Barren Grounds is not for the faint of heart. If you don’t like gory scenes then you won’t want to read this. It almost felt like a horror story at the beginning it’s that gruesome. It’s billed as a romantic suspense but there isn’t much romance going on though it has a little. I would put it more as a suspense/thriller with a hint of romance.
Tana is an interesting character and I really liked her. She has a lot to prove and she was going to prove it no matter what. At first, I don’t think it hit her about how she is pregnant and shouldn’t get in bar fights with upset young men. Not until after she has the lady medic take a look at her and find out more about her pregnancy. She has been left as the only police in a place that needs at least two people and I thought she did pretty dang good. (Now is it really believable in real life I don’t know as I have never lived up there where it’s cold and desolate and don’t plan on it.)
Crash is one of those characters that I am just not sure about. You really hate him at first just like Tana but then he grows on you a bit when you find out more about him, but by that time more than half the book is done and you still kind of just don’t know. He has his redeeming qualities and in the end, I like him. but I just didn’t feel the romance. It felt more like a
I just didn’t feel the romance. It felt more like a collision course of a romance that you see in a movie where two people hate each other but they go through something traumatic and at the end they kiss. Which is why I said it doesn’t feel like a romantic suspense to me but more of a thriller.
I didn’t let that bother me though because this was a very good novel. The author does a great job and it has a good twist at the end. By the end of the book, I was even believing a bit in the tiny romance between Tana and Crash, she made me want to believe in it.
So the more I think about it the more I have to say that it must be Tana and Crash both having a past full of bad stuff that makes them getting together a bit believable…it’s driving me crazy a part of me hates it and a part of me likes it…lol. You read, you decide! 🙂
Like I said before it’s not for the faint of heart but if you like a good suspense/thriller/mystery then I recommend you grab you a copy now. I know I will be checking out more from this author.