Saturday, November 6, 2021

ARC Review: Vanishing Edge by Claire Kells

Vanishing Edge

Claire Kells
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (November 9, 2021)

Description: For fans of Christine Carbo and Scott Graham, an ex-FBI agent is on a desperate hunt for a party of vanished campers while a killer is on the loose.

The rugged landscape of Sequoia National Park is a challenge on the best of days—but when a park ranger discovers an abandoned exclusive campsite with an empty tent and high-end technical gear scattered on the shores of an alpine lake, the wilderness takes on a sinister new hue.

Thirty-two-year-old Felicity Harland—a former FBI agent who left the service in the wake of a personal tragedy and has taken her skills off the grid—is brought in as chief investigator. As a federal agent with the Investigative Services Bureau, she tackles crimes that occur on National Parks lands: unexplained falls, domestic disputes, and now a possible murder case.

The private company that set up the exclusive camp won’t reveal their client list, leaving Felicity with zero clues. As she struggles to find a lead, she’s also haunted by a painful past that dogs her at every step. But when she meets Ferdinand Huxley, a Navy SEAL turned park ranger, she begins to see the value in not just working with a partner, but trusting one, too.

The investigation takes Felicity and Hux deep into a wilderness that tests their physical limits to the extreme—and to the mean streets of Los Angeles, where they begin to learn the grisly truth behind the campers’ disappearance.

Bad things happen in the wilderness—and sometimes they’re not accidents.

My Thoughts: Felicity Harland is a new investigator with the Investigative Services Bureau which investigates crimes in the United States' National Parks. She is former FBI who is still recovering from a broken back which happened while she and her husband were exploring an isolated part of Australia. Her husband left her to find help and was never seen again. So, besides her physical challenges, she's also grieving for her husband. 

Felicity is called to Sequoia National Park to look into the disappearance of two campers who were dropped off deep in the wilderness by an outfit called Glampist which specializes in luxury camping. Just getting to the campsite will be a major accomplishment for a woman recovering from her sort of injury. She is determined to overcome her injury and do her job. She is assigned help in the person of park ranger Ferdinand Huxley - know as Hux. Hux is a former Navy SEAL who is a noted tracker and almost as new at his job as Felicity is at hers.  

Arriving at the site raises more questions than it answers. The site is destroyed, the campers missing, and Glampist, a luxury camping company, very unwilling to even tell them who should have been at the site citing client privacy. When a body is discovered and is identified as a rather famous actress, Felicity and Hux have somewhere to start their investigation.

A grieving widower, shady camp outfitters, and questionable campers quickly become suspects which add to the mystery. The difficult terrain of the park becomes a character in itself as Felicity and Hux have to travel over and search many difficult areas. They also face difficulties with Hux's boss who is an old school park ranger who wants to declare the death an accident and get on with his job during the busy tourist season in the park. 

I liked gradually learning Felicity's story as the books went on. I thought the mystery was well done with lots of potential criminals. I liked the way Felicity and Hux get to know each other as they conduct the investigation. 

This was an engaging start to a new series.

Favorite Quote:
"Well, I've got a situation out here."

A situation -- probably the most dreading word in my vocabulary. It itched the corner of my brain that liked facts and logic and hard evidence. I could handle a dead body or an accident or even murder, but I didn't like the sound of "a situation."

"What do you mean by that?" I asked. 
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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