Wildlife biologist Mac Barrett is working in the jungles of Brazil when he gets the call to return to Scarlet Falls as his father’s health has deteriorated. He’s attacked before he makes it home but manages to get there despite his serious injuries. However, they take a toll after visiting his father and he has an accident on the way to his cabin, caused by him attempting to avoid the body of a woman in the middle of the road. Rookie Detective Stella Dane comes upon the accident and an unconscious Mac but the body of the woman is gone. Based on his description, she appears to be the missing woman Stella is searching for but she’s unsure whether to trust Mac’s recollection.
Of all the Barrett siblings, Mac is the one who seemed the most opaque and I finally learned why. There’s a lot more to him than I’d imagined, which made this one of the many reasons why I enjoyed this story. One other is the return of Stella Dane who is dealing with the mental repercussions from her involvement in a shootout detailed in the last story. She was a patrol officer and is newly promoted to the detectives rank but suffers from personal doubts and anguish from that debacle. Mac and Stella team up on her current investigation involving the abduction of two women but their personal attraction began when he was last home. I loved how they didn’t pretend it wasn’t there and faced their feelings head on. They were incredibly well matched even though I didn’t see that in the last story. Both are two vulnerable people who don’t shy away way from any of their issues and rely on each other to work through them.
I don’t want to minimize the importance of Stella’s case as it was grim and evil. It was always in the background when it wasn’t the main focus of the moment and what was done to the victims was cruel and insensitive. One more unexpected surprise was the adjustments made by the narrator who abandoned those ridiculous male voices she created in the two earlier books. No distractions at all this time and I actually enjoyed her performance! I’m glad I stuck with the audiobook version because she helped keep the story exciting with great pacing. This was a wonderful end to the series and I’m glad to begin its spinoff, Morgan Dane, set up nicely here.
- Release Date: June 28, 2016
- Series: Scarlet Falls #3
- Narrator: Cris Dukeheart
- Audio Length: 10 hours, 5 minutes
- Publisher: Brilliance Audio