Series: Northern Rescue, #2, #2
Published by Amazon Digital Services, Amazon Publishing on 24th August 2021
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Nate Hunter simply wants to be left alone to study animal diseases in his lab, but the disappearance of his father in the Alaskan bush makes that an impossibility. His oldest brother nearly died during the first search and rescue attempt, and now his younger brother is hiding something. When Nate finds coordinates tucked away in his dad's papers, he decides to take the investigation into his own hands to protect his family.
State trooper Freya Ashby already has a lot on her plate when she and her search and rescue K9, Xena, are sent to the site of a massive avalanche. Her mother is sick, her sister is going through a nasty divorce, and she's the lead investigator into the frustrating disappearance of Dr. William Hunter. The last thing she needs is a complication, and Nate, her last one-night-stand, is definitely that… especially after she finds him buried in the snow with a dead man.
Is soft-spoken, shy, and insanely sexy Dr. Nathaniel Hunter a killer? Or the next target?
I’ve followed Burrows’s writing for ages, which makes ‘Northern Deception’ a very hard review to write as well. First, not just because I’ve gotten an ARC from an author whose writing/stories I generally like, but what then, do you do when every book in this series just hasn’t appealed (and probably wouldn’t, judging from the characters and the circumstances they find themselves in)?
Stories set in the extreme wilderness do tend to be a different beast and Burrows’s focus on the dogs and surviving the punishing Alaskan landscape is what for me, helps buoy the entire narrative.
But if I was lukewarm about Ellis/Brielle’s story in the first one, I outrightly disliked Nate/Freya because they turned out to be characters that I just didn’t feel anything for. In fact, Burrows does quite bravely write about the social problems mirrored in these rather dislikable characters—all the Hunter brother in this series just do not feel like credible ‘heroes’ as they search for a deadbeat dad whose cagey disappearance and a trail of dead bodies turning up help build a mystery that has yet to be fully solved. And this stubborn, utter loyalty to a family that has been dysfunctional for so long was unfortunately something I actually found quite repulsive and clearly not a sentiment throughout the books that I could deeply root for.
We see in Nate and Freya as victims of different kinds of abuse and neglect; it’s both a given that they act out in different ways to Ellis/Brielle, though their tiresome issues seem like rinse and repeat, not unlike the many flawed protagonists in romantic suspense that I know many readers do yearn for and get.
Clearly this is a personal ‘rubbed-the-wrong-way’ kind of vibe that I got from the series that far; I’d hoped the second book could have had a different take on these characters but it clearly didn’t, which had me, quite sadly, not finishing it.