Hunting Ground by Meghan Holloway

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Fifteen years ago, Hector Lewis’s wife and young daughter vanished without a trace. People have long thought he was responsible, but the man he knows is behind their disappearance still walks free. As a police officer, he is sworn to uphold the law. But he has seen how little justice there is in the world. And when a newcomer’s arrival sparks a harrowing series of crimes, Hector finds himself in a race to catch a man he is convinced is a killer.

Evelyn Hutto knows what it is to be prey. She moved west to start over. But the remote town of Raven’s Gap, Montana, is not as quiet and picturesque as it appears. The wild borderlands of Yellowstone National Park are home to more than one kind of predator. Women are going missing, and Evelyn’s position at the local museum unearths a collection of Native American art steeped in secrets. As she traces the threads of the past and the present, she finds them tied to one man.

Hector is a man obsessed with finding answers. Evelyn is a woman with secrets of her own. As winter whittles the land to bone and ice, the body count rises, and both become locked in a deadly game of cat and mouse with a dangerous man. A man who is as cunning as he is charismatic. A man whose new hunting season is only just beginning.

REVIEW

Psychological thrillers are not my usual choice for reading. Heck, that goes for movies as well…I remember a time when I was in my teens going to a double feature of Premature Burial and The Pit and the Pendulum. I didn’t even make it through the first film before I left the theater. 😱 However, based on how much I loved the author’s previous book, Once More Unto the Breach, I decided to dispense with my idiosyncratic character flaw and read Hunting Ground. It is, as the author mentioned to me, quite different from Breach, but there are similarities nonetheless. The characters are well crafted, realism in their demeanor’s, their responses to events, the motives behind their actions, all lead the reader into an intense, taut drama. Meticulously detailed descriptions, whether it is of a small Montana town, or the sprawling, winter bound wilderness of Yellowstone immerses the readers in the surroundings, in the chilling events. As the story unfolded, and more secrets emerged, more details came to light, the twists and turns of this page turning thriller had this reader/reviewer pausing to remember to breathe. Oh, yes my  peeps and fellow travelers on the reading road, this is a good one for sure. A psychological thriller that even the idiosyncratic flawed, like me, can enjoy.

5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Once More Unto the Breach by Meghan Holloway

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For readers of The Nightingale and Beneath a Scarlet Sky comes a gripping historical thriller set against a fully-realized WWII backdrop about the love a father has for his son and the lengths he is willing to go to find him, from a talented new voice in suspense.

Rhys Gravenor, Great War veteran and Welsh sheep farmer, arrives in Paris in the midst of the city’s liberation with a worn letter in his pocket that may have arrived years too late. As he follows the footsteps of his missing son across an unfamiliar, war-torn country, he struggles to come to terms with the incident that drove a wedge between the two of them.

Joined by Charlotte Dubois, an American ambulance driver with secrets of her own, Rhys discovers that even as liberation sweeps across France, the war is far from over. And his personal war has only begun as he is haunted by memories of previous battles and hampered at every turn by danger and betrayal. In a race against time and the war, Rhys follows his son’s trail from Paris to the perilous streets of Vichy to the starving mobs in Lyon to the treacherous Alps. But Rhys is not the only one searching for his son. In a race of his own, a relentless enemy stalks him across the country and will stop at nothing to find the young man first.

The country is in tatters, no one is trustworthy, and Rhys must unravel the mystery of his son’s wartime actions in the desperate hope of finding him before it’s too late. Too late to mend the frayed bond between them. Too late to beg his forgiveness. Too late to bring him home alive.

REVIEW

“Grief and I had long been acquaintances, but now it met me in an unfamiliar guise. When I lost Aelwyd and the twins, and later my father, I had been gorged to excess on pain and anger. Grief had been a wolf pacing within the confines of my chest, gnashing at my heart, howling and feral and bitter.”

Let me say at the outset, this book is one of the best I’ve read, and I read a lot of excellent books. The above quote is a prime example of the author’s descriptive talent. Dialogue and narrative are so beautifully rendered, to the point where the reader’s mind has to work very little to conjure up the images described or the emotional depth the characters feel. Right from page one, I was hooked. The chaotic atmosphere created by the German retreat from Paris jump starts an incredible adventure. An intense drama, as Rhys and Charlotte follow the trail of his lost son, unfolds into a stunning tale of survival in a landscape filled with enemies and memories. The use of flashbacks to Rhys’ past, along with the letters from Owain that begin each chapter, are an integral part of the narrative, adding context as they reach into the very hearts and minds of father and son. Another important aspect of this book is the detailed look at a time and place filled with unspeakable horrors, and the heroic efforts by those who chose to defy the invaders. The research done by the author is very evident throughout the tale, and that coupled with an imaginative/creative writing style had this reader on the edge of his seat, pausing occasionally to take a breath. The author also found a way to include my new favorite fictional canine, a poodle named Otto. This, my peeps and fellow travelers, is a book to savor. 5 Stars