Series: Fiona Carver, #1
Published by Montlake on 17th August 2021
Buy on Amazon
Archaeologist Fiona Carver has unfinished business in the Aleutian Islands. After an emergency evacuation cut her first expedition short, she’s finally back. But time is not on her side as she races to finish documenting the remnants of a prehistoric village, recover missing artifacts, and track down missing volcanologist Dylan Slater.
Having bluffed his way onto Fiona’s team with fake credentials, wildlife photographer Dean Slater is willing to risk more than federal prison to find his missing brother, but he needs Fiona’s help. She knows the inhospitable terrain better than anyone.
When the two set out together on a perilous journey, it becomes more than a recovery mission. In their fight for survival, nature isn’t the only threat. They aren’t the only ones on the hunt. Mile by dangerous mile, someone is hunting them.
Rachel Grant’s books are always well-researched: the author’s need to accurately portray indigenous cultures is one that I’ve always loved and ‘Dangerous Ground’, set in the remote Aleutian Islands, is painstakingly done and written with rich detail. It is however, also the start of a new RS series, beginning with the archaeologist Fiona Carver’s expedition getting railroaded by a famous photographer pretending to be someone he’s not as he goes in search of his fraternal twin brother.
There’s more of an adventure thriller/mystery going on than the romance; instead Grant sets out to delve deeper into both protagonists’ motivations and feelings rather than jump quick into the hot and heavy. With Grant, things are seldom simple and straightforward as her stories are almost always written with the assumption that they are being told to an intelligent reader liking to unravel and put together the plot themselves, as multiple sub-plots and threads are woven together until it all comes together at the end. That this is a series means that unfinished business is the order of the day, as is the relationship between Fiona and Dean.
But frankly, I didn’t like Dean Slater to start with (deception and the womaniser-type males with issues always get my teeth clenched, more so because he tried to act on his attraction to Fiona even when he’d thought she was his brother’s girlfriend) despite his desperation to do whatever it takes to find his twin.
I thought him too smug, too smarmy at first, too absorbed in his high-flying (and shallow dating—with way too many constant reminders of that in the story) life before circumstances really tested his mettle and showed his need for his brother.
Clearly, there’s a lot more growth from Dean that I expect over the coming books but whom I really found fascinating was Dylan instead (when a secondary character becomes your object of interest instead of the protagonist does it not signal trouble?) and I wanted his story told instead of hearing about Dean’s repetitive, deep-seated commitment problems and his refusal to step out of that comfort zone while insisting that his brother deserved Fiona more.
So, this became out a mixed bag in the end. The alluring setting and the breathless action scenes towards the end kept me enthralled but this sort of dimmed given the less than compelling protagonists at this stage. With an abrupt relationship-cliffhanger ending, ‘Dangerous Ground’ turned out somewhat disappointing by the time I turned the last page.