Wednesday, October 19, 2022

ARC Review: Vanishing Hour by Laura Griffin

Vanishing Hour

Laura Griffin
Publication: Berkley (October 25, 2022)

Description: When a cold case in Texas leads to a sinister string of disappearances, a newcomer to the small town helps a detective piece together the clues in this new romantic thriller from New York Times bestselling author Laura Griffin.

Corporate lawyer Ava Burch has had enough of the big city and the daily grind. She grew up with her father, who raised search-and-rescue dogs, in rural Texas and has moved to the small town of Cuervo to spend time in the dry, rugged wilderness near Big Bend National Park. When she and her dog, Huck, discover an abandoned campsite on a volunteer search-and-rescue mission, she’s perplexed, but she carefully photographs it all the same.

All Grant Wycoff can see when he looks at Ava is a city slicker—with her designer jeans and shiny car—who has no business on a serious team made of seasoned outdoorsmen and retired cops. But when she tells him of her findings on the trail, he sees there’s more to her than meets the eye.

Ava’s discovery reminds Grant of the unsolved case of a young woman who went missing two years ago. As they look into the campsite further, another woman disappears under odd circumstances. With time running out, Ava and Grant must work against the brutal heat from both the Texas sun and their own electric chemistry to solve the case.

My Thoughts: Ex-corporate lawyer Ava Burch has moved to western Texas to start a new life. Her estranged father has died leaving her his search and rescue dog Hank. She and Hank have been doing some SAR work since her arrival. 

While out looking for a missing three-year-old, Ava stumbles onto a well-hidden campsite that looks like it has been there for quite a while. She takes some pictures but the search for the child takes priority. She talks about the site to the local sheriff and the head game warden and prints out the photos for them when she gets home.

Sheriff's deputy and chief investigator Grant Wycoff is interested in the pictures because they may help him solve a cold case that has been plaguing him. Molly Shaw went missing after going camping alone two years earlier. There have been other cases of lone women disappearing too. Deanna Moore's death was attributed to a fall but there are some inconsistencies. And Brittlyn Spencer disappeared the previous June. Brittlyn's mother has devoted her life since that day to finding her daughter and keeping her case on the minds of the various investigators.

When Grant and Ava hike out to where she had seen the campsite, they are surprised to find that everything is missing. All that is left are the few pictures Ava took. Ava becomes intrigued with the idea of solving the case much to Grant's dismay. She investigates and finds some clues the sheriff's department missed which give Grant new leads to follow. Her investigations also put her and her dog Huck into danger. A rattlesnake in the back of her car, strange footprints under her window, and someone shooting arrows at her while she is working a SAR rescue, indicate that someone doesn't want her to keep investigating. 

Meanwhile, Grant and Ava are beginning a relationship made complicated by Ava's unresolved issues of abandonment by her game warden father and by Grant's sense of duty which makes him keep breaking dates with her. 

This was an entertaining and engaging romantic suspense title. I liked the characters and understood where each was coming from. I also really liked Huck who was great at SAR but also doggy enough to eat shoes and steal steaks. 

Favorite Quote:
Donovan was facing reelection in the fall, and his campaign had already ramped up. Connor didn't like to think about politics affecting the sheriff's decisions.

He tipped his head back and sighed. There was something deeply depressing about questioning the integrity of the people above him.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

1 comment:

I love getting comments. Let me know what you think.

This blog is now officially declared an Award Free zone! I do appreciate your kindness in thinking of me and I am humbled by your generosity.

Your comments are award enough for me. Comment away!