by Marcia Meara
About the book:
Wildlife photographer Gunnar Wolfe looked like the kind of guy every man wanted to be and every woman just plain wanted, and the St. Johns River of central Florida drew him like a magnet. EcoTour boat owner Maggie Devlin knew all the river’s secrets, including the deadliest ones found in the swamps. But neither Maggie nor Gunn was prepared for the danger that would come after them on two legs.
On a quest to make history photographing the rarest birds of them all, Gunnar hires the fiery, no-nonsense Maggie to canoe him into the most remote wetland areas in the state. He was unprepared for how much he would enjoy both the trips and Maggie’s company. He soon realizes he wants more than she’s prepared to give, but before he can win her over, they make a grisly discovery that changes everything, and turns the quiet little town of Riverbend upside down. A serial killer is on the prowl among them.
I loved this book and read it in one sitting. The author obviously knows and loves Florida and its wildlife, and she portrays all of that wonderfully in Swamp Ghosts, the first book in the Riverbend series.
The main character is Maggie Devlin, who is one tough cookie. After a violent and abusive marraige, she vows off men, but then–8 years later–a ‘big, dumb Viking’ shows up, and everything’s up for grabs. All of the cast play a role and all are three-dimensional and well developed.
While I sussed out who the killer was fairly early on, it didn’t spoil the read for me. If anything, it enhanced it, as I could see how much danger the other characters were in around this monster in their midst.
The only thing that let this read down for me was the end. The main denouement came far too early, and I felt that the final chapters were drawn out, and I grew impatient with it. Even though the book is listed as Romance/Suspense, I felt that the gripping resolution could have been closer to the close of the tale. Hence the loss of the half a star. Otherwise, this book is a great read that I couldn’t put down.
The book is well formatted, and the narrative pretty clean of errors. All in all, I would highly recommend this author, and I look forward to reading the next two books in the Riverbend Series. So, a solid 4.5 stars from me.
NOTE ON RATINGS: I consider a 3-star rating a positive review. Picky about which books I give 5 stars to, I reserve this highest rating for the stories I find stunning and which moved me.
5 STARS: IT WAS AMAZING! I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN! — Highly Recommended.
4 STARS: I WOULD PULL AN ALL-NIGHTER — Go read this book.
3 STARS: IT WAS GOOD! — An okay read. Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it.
2 STARS: I MAY HAVE LIKED A FEW THINGS —Lacking in some areas: writing, characterisation, and/or problematic plot lines.
1 STAR: NOT MY CUP OF TEA —Lots of issues with this book.