Series: Search and Rescue, #4
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on October 4th 2016
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In the remote Rocky Mountains, lives depend on the Search & Rescue brotherhood. But in a place this far off the map, trust is hard to come by and secrets can be murder...
It's all come down to this...
Daisy Little has lived in agoraphobic terror for over eight years. Trapped within a prison of her own making, she watches time pass through her bedroom window. Daisy knows she'll never be a part of the world...until the day she becomes the sole witness of a terrible crime that may finally tear the Search and Rescue brotherhood apart for good.
‘In Safe Hands’ brings us back to the remote town where the bad guys hide among the good, where the women are the crazy, neurotic ones and the men somewhat more normal and hot. It brings as well, a murder-mystery plot that began in the first book to a startling conclusion that few would have seen coming.
Like Lou, Ellie and Rory, Daisy Little is odd in some way that I can’t entirely get into, even if Katie Ruggle does write a convincing case of agoraphobia. Her fear stems from a tragedy many years ago and as the pattern is with Ruggle’s SAR series, it’s something that she’ll need to fight and face in the climatic part of the book—and only out of this trial by fire (literally) can her stalled life finally move on. There’s a slow, slow burn with Deputy Chris Jennings, but the story’s inclined towards suspense more than romance, skewed so much in Daisy’s POV (as well as the villains, strangely) that I wondered about the almost peripheral role that Chris played in it apart from being Daisy’s ever-steady pillar of support.
Even then, I’m mixed about the direction of the story-arc, the characters and the pacing, which in several instances, felt inconsistent. With the painstaking set-up of the villain as the good guy whom I liked, it was difficult to swallow the fact that he apparently had a personality transplant from the first three books to this one, where the all-out scheming evil he seems to represent here made him more like a caricature than a character torn apart by his conflicting morals. In addition, Ruggle injects a liberal amount of levity that balances out the dour mood of the crimes, and if I enjoyed the camaraderie between the new friends, I did think these interludes took something away from the building suspense.
That said, ‘In Safe Hands’ could work as a standalone, although not very well. The SAR is an unusual series enough that I’d followed it all the way—Ruggle’s writing style is worth it—, but I’m still here crossing my fingers that the next series wouldn’t disappoint too much.