Miracle in a Dry Season    Dangerous Passage





by Colleen Coble

Reviewed by Darcie Gudger

"Colleen Coble cranks out a wicked-paced thriller. Rock Harbor fans need to take a deep breath, and keep the lights on if you read at night... [Coble] is joining the ranks of Brandilyn Collins and Eric Wilson."

Bree Mathews’ headlights illuminate a bloodied young woman and a toddler stumbling along the roadside. Bree stops to help. The young woman has no clue to her identity or that of the little girl with her. All she can tell Bree is that someone tried to kill her and is probably looking for her.

Geocachers, eager to find tickets to Broadway shows, or interesting artifacts, are led by their LED screens to gruesome discoveries: bodies of women whose faces are missing along with other body parts. Oddest of all, is the peanut butter sandwich placed with the body.

No connection is made until these “caches” appear in the Upper Pennisula of Michigan. Bree’s houseguest along with the lead investigator on the case receive disturbing phone calls from a man who calls himself Gideon.

Pieces of the mystery woman’s life start falling into place, leading to shocking discoveries. Will the final pieces of her past be unlocked in time to allow her to save face?

Colleen Coble cranks out a wicked-paced thriller. Rock Harbor fans need to take a deep breath, and keep the lights on if you read at night. Abomination is far more plot than character driven. Bree and friends find themselves in the most horrifying case of their lives. A serial killer who harvests faces. Pretty intense. I couldn’t peel myself out of the pages. Coble had me creeped out.

My husband asked what I was reading, so I gave him the run down about missing faces and body parts. Wish I had the camera at that moment! Coble creates a villain on the border of unbelievable, but with the past few violent events in our culture, his crimes are quite plausible. Making him scarier. Making you, the reader, anxious about Mystery Woman.

Coble paves the way with red herrings. She knits related clues with small needles, even planting suspicion against beloved character, Kade Matthews. I had to think really, really hard, but, I must confess… I figured it out. I read this genre almost exclusively as a reviewer and have been a mystery fan since my first Nancy Drew at age five. The more I read the better I get as an “armchair sleuth”. I don’t mean to insult anyone, but most readers will be shocked at the very end. Abomination is well-crafted.

And, if you love dogs, you’ll love this book along with the other Rock Harbor mysteries. Bree and her friend Naomi train search and rescue dogs who also do death scents. Don’t panic if you haven’t read Rock Harbor. Abomination is a stand alone. Coble does a great job of providing a little background without slowing the harrowing pace, and she makes the UP come alive. I’ve been there and can easily go back in my imagination. It is as beautiful as she describes it.

I love the turn Coble is taking in her writing. She’s joining the ranks of Brandilyn Collins and Eric Wilson. I have no doubt this book will fly off the shelves.

Darcie Gudger is a freelance writer currently working on a young adult novel while trying to solve all the mysteries of motherhood with her adopted son, Kyle. In her spare time, she coaches the 2A Colorado State Champion Sheridan High School colorguard, judged equipment for the Rocky Mountain Colorguard Association and sings for the Bear Valley church choir and worship team. An adventure-seeker who lives and writes in the shadow of the Rocky mountains, Darcie loves hiking, camping, cycling, photography and keeping her husband guessing. Visit Darcie online at her blog, Joy in the Litterbox.