Abducted in Appalachia
November 15, 2023

Book Review

Abducted in Appalachia

Drew Strickland continues to provide stellar stories in this third novel of the series. Elven Hallie, a sheriff in a West Virginia county, has been getting used to the job, bumps and all. When one of his deputies has been kidnapped, the hunt is on to find her before it’s too late. Suspecting that this could be Deputy Cook’s estranged husband, Sheriff Hallie has a target.

While tensions rise, there are some other clues that emerge, including a man murdered on the roadside, that lend credence that there could be someone much more dangerous out there, holding Deputy Cook for reasons as yet unknown.

Continuing from where the last book ended, Deputy Maddison ‘Madds’ Cook has been looking to lay down some roots but purchasing a home. She’s arrived to meet her realtor, but someone is waiting in the house and Deputy Cook soon ends up in their custody. While she has no idea what this is about, she can only wonder if her estranged husband might be involved. 

When a call comes in about a body on the side of the road, Dupray County Sheriff Elven Hallie makes his way to the scene. Things are gorier than he would have expected, likely a carjacking gone awry. Following up on some leads, Sheriff Hallie learns that things will take him to the nearby Monacan County, where the sheriff is less amiable and connected to some of the darker people within the state.  

When, during the investigation, Sheriff Hallie learns that Deputy Cook has gone missing, likely abducted from the home she was hoping to view, he pushes things into high gear. Scrambling for answers, Sheriff Hallie must work with his highly corrupt counterpart in order to pave the way towards answers. If that were not enough, Sheriff Hallie must partner with a man who has many connections, but has long been rumoured to have his hand deep in criminal enterprises all across West Virginia. If Hollis Starcher can help find Deputy Cook, their skirmishes will have to be shelved for the time being. 

All the while, Madds Cook is being kept captive by a man whose past and present are blurred by an event that shook him. Madds may be just the thing he needs to calm his concerns, though he will need to take action to mark him as her own. Panicked and unsure if anyone is looking for her, Madds Cook can only wait, hoping that Sheriff Hallie will find her before it’s too late. A chilling story that has so many moving parts. Drew Strickland has done a stellar job once more. 

The tone is set once more with this piece, which complements the other novels in the series. Drew Strickland provides a strong narrative that connects the previous novels, while tossing out new and intriguing ideas in this novel. Momentum gained through fast chapters and multiple story ideas, Strickland keeps the reader hooked until all is revealed. 

The development of Elven Hallie’s character proves effective, though it is the loose addition of various aspects of Madds Cook’s backstory that shapes various parts of this book. Strickland uses slow reveals to keep the reader hooked and wanting to know more, though the story offers up many new faces with stories of their own. One can hope that many of the names will return for more adventures in upcoming novels, but this story is full of flavourful characters who push the story along. Seeking to address both Sheriff Hallie’s determination to protect his team and a personal connection to Madds Cook, this book provides some great development that is needed to bridge some of the story arcs not yet resolved. 

There are numerous plot developments in the book, building on past arcs and added some new ones for the reader to enjoy. The story moves swiftly and there is so much to take in, forcing the reader to pay close attention as they find themselves on this adventures, which does not dissipate until the final pages, While a longer thriller, there is nothing that drags in this piece. If anything, the reader will want to push through this to get to the next novel, which I can only hope is packed with just as much action. 

Kudos, Mr. Strickland, for another stunning read that has me eager to forge onwards.

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