Series: Fiona Carver,
Published by Montlake on 4th January 2022
Buy on Amazon
Fiona Carver has landed a dream assignment: conducting an archaeological inventory of Ruby Island, a privately owned, pristine gem in the Caribbean. Two months in paradise exploring and mapping a lush rain forest, vast caves, and a seventeenth-century star fort and following up on legends of hidden Spanish gold.
Add a simmering reunion with wildlife photographer Dean Slater and it’s enough to take Fiona’s breath away. But the sparkle fades when Dean’s arrival is met with sudden, terrifying danger.
Reunited and determined to see the project through, Fiona and Dean find themselves in a swirl of intrigue as they delve into the complex history of the unspoiled refuge, now a tropical haven for billionaires and their secrets. But the work isn’t easy, as someone appears determined to kill the project—by any means necessary.
As betrayal casts tropical storm clouds over Ruby Island and treasured friendships dissolve into distrust, one thing becomes clear: Fiona and Dean are trapped in a dangerous paradise.
If you call this book a suspense-thriller-adventure, then ‘Crash Site’ is a superlative addition to the Fiona Carver series. Just like its predecessor, it’s a tale of survival and heart-pounding action as things—par for the course—start to go wrong one after the other like stacked dominoes falling with the slightest touch. Rachel Grant’s intelligent, descriptive writing shines when it comes to putting together her research and her academic experience into a tight, adventure-driven plot with enough intrigue and twists and turns to keep your eyes glued to the page.
But call this a romance and the cracks start to show up early when it comes to the dance Fiona and Dean do this far down the line. In the first book, Dean’s constant insistence on living life ‘to the fullest’ for self-preservation purposes continues here right up to the last page, his grating (and perhaps cowardly) commitment issues contrasting sharply to Fiona’s helpless pining and inability to pull away from a man who doesn’t want a relationship enough after his last great heartbreak a decade ago.
Fiona’s strength and compassion would easily endear Grant’s female readers; on the other hand, Dean’s own uncertainty about his willingness to fight for anything more with Fiona, while understandable, turned frustratingly irksome by the end, compounded by a so-called abrupt change of heart that never quite materialises convincingly.
With this rushed ending and not much of a hint as to how they might move forward, Fiona/Dean together as a couple raises more questions than answers: is there more in this series that Grant intends to build on? Is Dean ever going to be the one who finally steps up emotionally to help validate the romantic aspect of the story? Or is the end of Dean’s and Fiona’s uneven character growth as protagonists of the series? Will Dylan get his own story?
While ‘Crash Site’ doesn’t end in too much of a cliffhanger, its conclusion—from a suspense-thriller perspective, is a satisfying one: questions answered, the loopholes closed and the bad guys dealt with…though not without some regretful collateral damage. But as a book classified as romantic suspense, its emotional, romantic ending is more muted and more disappointing than what I’d hoped to read.