Nurse Mallory Dent, a recent widow, moves from the bad memories of her Vancouver home to a house she bought, sight-unseen, a thousand miles to the northwest. She arrives to find an insular community, but a seemingly friendly one. She is ill-prepared for her new life in the remote town. She doesn’t even have a kettle to make tea. She also is not prepared for an early winter as she has neither warm winter clothing or snow tires on her car.
Joel Benson is the police sergeant for the tiny town of McNamara. Tall and handsome, he may be, but he has close ties to many of the local community. He has hidden secrets.
McNamara’s Loss Lake was created in the 1970s when a dam upstream failed. Loss Lake is very deep and is rumored to house a ‘monster’, which is blamed by locals for the several deaths there. As all the deaths took place in October, Mallory couldn’t have picked a worse month to move to her new home.
This novel could well be a continuation of my seasonal reads, as it is set mostly in the month of October. Set in northwest British Columbia, it is a season of chilly temperatures, shorter days, beautiful leaves, and the very real threat of snow.
As soon as I knew the identity of the dead woman, I immediately suspected that the protagonist, Mallory Dent, might be an unreliable narrator. Also, her reaction to the woman’s name seemed off some how…
This novel held great promise and the plot was very interesting. I was not a big fan of the writing style, especially when the myriad similies started to grate upon my nerves. “Windows lit up like eyes full of laughter”; The darkness turned to dawn like a healing bruise; snowflakes batted against her face like pestering insects; dread rippled through her stomach like spoiled milk; her curiosity bubbled like a shaken soda can; the trees around her moaned like members of a Greek chorus; thoughts bounced around in her mind like drunk drivers in bumper cars… you get the idea. Some similies are good, but having them on almost every page was annoying.
A hybrid blend of crime thriller and romantic suspense, this book will appeal to readers who enjoy those genres. Though, to be fair, the abrupt ending will pique some readers, as it did me.
This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Lake Union Publishing via NetGalley.
Amber Cowie is a novelist living in a small town on the west coast of British Columbia. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Salon, The Globe and Mail, Crime Reads, and Scary Mommy. Her first novel, Rapid Falls, was a Whistler Book Awards nominee, hit number one overall on Amazon, and was a top-100 bestselling Kindle book of 2018.
Her next book, Last One Alive, will be released by Simon and Schuster Canada in summer 2022.
Follow Amber Cowie on Twitter @ambercowie