reviewed by Pam Guynn
Vanishing Edge by Claire Kells brings crimes and suspense to a well-written and dramatic crime thriller largely set in Sequoia National Park near Three Rivers, California. Felicity Harland is a former FBI agent who left the agency after a personal tragedy and a major injury. She is now a special agent for the Investigative Services Bureau, the investigative arm of the National Park Service.
Harland gets a call that she is needed at Sequoia National Park. Two campers are missing and the luxury camping outfit that had the campsite set up won’t reveal its clients. The campsite is abandoned with no signs of a struggle was found by new park ranger Ferdinand “Hux” Huxley. What happened to the campers? Are they lost, injured, or has something else happened to them?
This character driven story has plenty of intrigue and drama as well. Harland and Hux are fantastic as investigative partners. She has to prove to herself and to her superiors that her back, which required three major surgeries, is up to the task of long hikes and climbs to investigate accidents and crimes in national parks. Harland’s intrapersonal struggles felt realistic and were woven seamlessly into the story. Her dog, Ollie, added another dimension to the story. Hux, a former Navy SEAL, wants more than a junior ranger role in life and is excited to help Harland in her investigation. He’s known for his people finding abilities. Will they be successful? I especially enjoyed the friendship and trust that they developed during the course of the investigation.
The plot is suspenseful, fresh, complex, and entertaining. There are plenty of twists and red herrings. The tension, stakes and action build up to an exciting and pulse-quickening ending. Another wonderful aspect was the world-building. The author did a fantastic job of making the reader feel as though they were in Sequoia National Park with Harland and Hux. This strong sense of place was essential and elevated the reading experience for me. This author kept me entertained throughout. Her ability to combine strong characters and complex plots, and the excellent pacing, kept me fully engaged.
Overall, this was well-written, captivating, and thought-provoking. I enjoyed unraveling the mystery along with Harland and Hux. I was hooked immediately in the first chapter and the pages kept turning. I recommend this book to those that enjoy mysteries and investigations in the great outdoors with likeable characters. I hope this becomes a series.
Crooked Lane Books and Claire Kells provided a digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own and are not biased in any way. Publication date was November 9, 2021.