Reading a novel that hasn't had its final editing can be frustrating. At times, when she becomes he, or a character whose name was changed during writing didn't get changed everywhere, or a certain descriptive phrase is used waay too many times, divining the author's intent or competency can be tricky.
In this second book of the series, foemr Army MP Mercy Carr and her ex-Army dog Elvis must deal with not only blizzards and illegal night hunters but Henry, an autistic nine year-old who may hold the clues to solving a grisly bow-and-arrow homicide. Add to the mix the growing attraction between game warden Troy Warner and Mercy, whose fiancé died in Afghanistan. A plethora of other characters fill this small-town Vermont setting to the brim with notable, quotable moments.
This is a textbook small-town murder mystery. Maybe a bit too textbook. Bucolic setting: check. Feisty ex-military heroine with emotional baggage: check. In fact, both lead characters with cartloads of issues: check. Quirky support characters including an aunt who seemingly can move mountains: check. Military dogs: check. A blustering, incompetent cop: check. A ruthless killer protecting past errors: check.
The one thing the book lacks (so far) is a sensitivity reader. The author's use of a stereotyped, tacky dialect for an Indian physician was crass and off-putting. If it weren't for that gaffe, I'd give it a four. As it reads today: a three.
This review was written prior to publication. Thank you to MacMillan and NetGalley for providing the Advance Reading Copy.