Crooked Lane Books | 7 September 2021 | 288 pgs
Source: Publisher via NetGalley 

I enjoyed Christopher Swann's previous novel (Never Turn Back) so much so that I requested this book after seeing that it's his latest release. 

Part suspense and part spy thriller, this story revolves around a retired history professor finding retreat in an isolated North Carolina mountains after the death of his wife and how his quiet life is turned upside down when a teenage girl barges into his life one day and claims that she is his niece. 

Nick Anthony has not been in contact with his younger brother for years and their relationship is gradually explained as the story progresses. Despite the distance, he is still shocked when he learns that his estranged brother and sister-in-law died in a house fire and that he has a niece who's managed to find him amid everything else. Annalise couldn't trust anyone, but she knew that she should seek her uncle's help especially learning that her parents' death wasn't an accident and the mysterious information she was told to pass on to her uncle before their death. And on top of it, she's being pursued by a bunch of hired private military contractors for the piece of information she's carrying. Nick doesn't know what kind of business and who his late brother had been dealing with, but he's adamant to find out about his hidden past as well as to protect Annalise from any harm. But what the reader didn't know is, Nick has his own hidden past, too. 

While the plot isn't new, I've to say I enjoyed reading about Nick as the main character and his relationship with Annalise. There are, of course, some intense moments and the cat-and-mouse chase but surprisingly, I was more focused on the interactions between uncle and niece; and Annalise for her courage and her fighting spirit. I liked this book but not as much as Never Turn Back but overall it was still a satisfying read.

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10 Responses
  1. Mystica Says:

    Sounds like a good read but the story line is of course not a new one. But seems to have been handled well. Thanks for the review.

  2. Melody Says:

    Mystica - This was an OK read to me but I'd recommend reading "Never Turn Back" first. It was that book that introduced me to this author. :)

  3. Susan Says:

    I haven't heard of this author, but his books sound like ones I would like!

  4. jenclair Says:

    I read Shadow of the Lions by Swann three or four years ago and like it! Now I need to pick up Never Turn Back before moving to this latest one. Thanks for the reminder, Melody :)

  5. Melody Says:

    Susan - I hope you'll give his books a try one day, Susan.

  6. Melody Says:

    Jenclair - I need to check out his older books. I'll be curious of your thoughts on Never Turn Back if you do read it, Jenclair. :)

  7. Lark Says:

    It's characters and relationships that make me love or hate a book. And I think I'd really like Nick and Annaliese. I'll have to check this one out. :)

  8. Iliana Says:

    Sounds like the one of the highlights is the great relationship between the two characters and I love that. Very atmospheric cover too!

  9. Melody Says:

    Lark - I hope you'll enjoy this book if you do get to it, Lark. :)

  10. Melody Says:

    Iliana - I love reading about the relationship or dynamics between characters. And that's a great cover, isn't it?

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