Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: August 2nd 2016
Challenges: Finishing the Series Reading Challenge | NetGalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge
Buying Links: Amazon* | Book Depository* | Kobo | OmniLit* | iTunes* | Barnes & Noble
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Blurb from goodreads:
In the remote Rocky Mountains, lives depend on the Search & Rescue brotherhood. But in a place this far off the map, trust is hard to come by and secrets can be murder...
George Holloway has spent his life alone, exploring the treacherous beauty of the Colorado Rockies. He's the best survival expert Search and Rescue has, which makes him the obvious choice to lead Ellie Price through deadly terrain to find her missing father. There's just one problem-Ellie's everything George isn't. She's a city girl, charming, gregarious, delicate, small. And when she looks up at him with those big, dark eyes, he swears he would tear the world apart to keep her safe.
With a killer on the loose, he may have no choice.
Ellie's determined to find her father no matter the cost. But as she and her gorgeous mountain of a guide fight their way through an unforgiving wilderness, they find themselves in the crosshairs of a dangerous man in search of revenge. And they are now his prey.
So, book three. The action and suspense are ramped up in this book. While they take a while to get going, once, they do, WHAMO! Events happened quickly. The romance was a mix of slow burn and fast moving, which sounds odd but mostly worked. The mystery of the headless dead guy from book one, "Hold Your Breath" is more front and center than it was in book two. We get more answers, but also more questions. There are twists and turns and OMG, I did not see THAT coming!
It took me a while to warm up to George but I ended up liking him a lot. My initial impression of him was that he was rude and unappealing. He rarely spoke and when he did, he was given to being rude and abrupt. He also had a habit of just reaching out and touching Ellie instead of saying, for instance, "Are you wearing a cotton tee-shirt?" Instead, he'd reach under her sweater to feel for himself. Umm, no. If you're worried that she's inappropriately dressed for the weather, then ASK! That bad habit aside, as the story went on and we go to know him better I grew to like him. Like Ian and Rory in "Fan the Flames", George comes from a dysfunctional family and is rather odd and quirky as a result. He also has very little experience with women and I love that Ellie didn't make a big deal out of it but was low-key and casual about it. George is a sweet and gentle man who thinks differently than most people, and is socially awkward, but is smart and competent. An experienced survival expert, he doesn't show off but quietly demonstrates his competence. I'd happily entrust my safety to him, though I'd want him to keep his hands to himself.
Ellie is worried about her father and her loyalty was amazing. She literally dropped everything to go and find him in the middle of a Colorado winter and get him to safety. Her family is also dysfunctional, a clear theme for Ruggle, but in a way that's more relatable. Her sensitivity around Ellie's father's problems is not always seen in fiction and I appreciated it. Besides being loyal, and worried about bears (see below), Ellie is a city girl who is clueless about the wilderness but smart enough to go after a good guide. She's compassionate, kind, persistent, and has a tendency to speak first, think later, thought not as badly as Lou from "Hold Your Breath". She is able to break through George's shell but does so gently. Although there's an immediate attraction, they are slow to act on it until the action kicks in. But even then, they keep things in check. After the action, when they go back to their regular lives, is really when things speed up. Throughout the story, Ruggle makes sure that we see both George and Ellie in their natural habitats, so to speak, and allows them each time to shine. Ellie and George play nicely off of each other and complement each other.
The identity of the killer was a nice revelation. I had previously considered and discarded that person as a suspect. I LIKE that person, dang it! :( And the cliffhanger? Eeeeek! Happily, just 2 days after finishing the book, I was able to get my hands on the next book cuz I might have hurt myself waiting for the next book to see how Ruggle wraps things up. There are still so many questions! For the rest of you, book 4, "In Safe Hands" will be out in October. Use the time to read "Gone Too Deep", and the previous books, so you won't waste any time when "In Safe Hands" comes out.
A few favorite quotes:
George did not look appropriately worried about the possibility of becoming a bear's midnight snack. In fact, although it was hard to tell under his beard, she was pretty sure he was amused by the squeaky pitch to her voice. He definitely didn't rush through packing up the stove.
There was no way to tactfully ask a near stranger if he would pee in the woods with her because she was scared of bears and whatever else lurked out there, so she just vowed to stay close to the tent.
"Why would you want a used blow-up doll? That's just nasty." Reuben shrugged. "That's what Windex is for." "No, Rube. No." The man shook his head. "That is not what Windex is for."
Read an excerpt of "Gone Too Deep" here and enter the giveaway.
My review of book 2, Fan the Flames
My review of book 1, Hold Your Breath