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Amber's Thoughts

Reviews and updates from Amber Foxx, author of the Mae Martin Psychic Mystery Series



Original Plot, Characters, and Setting

The protagonist, Gabriel Hawke, is an Oregon Fish and Wildlife State Trooper, a divorced middle-aged man dedicated to his work and wary of new relationships. His Nez Perce heritage is part of his complicated background, and the author handles this as well as the overall character development well.


Early in the book, Hawke comes across the scene of a bizarre murder in the Wallowa Mountains, and both his wilderness tracking and investigative processes in solving the crime are fascinating.


The suspects are all plausible. There’s a ring of truth to every scene and every character: the petty jealousies, the lies, the sexual harassment, the loveless marriages, the good friends, and the gossiping small-town acquaintances. The setting in the rural and the wild parts of Oregon is wonderful, and the relationships between humans and animals—horses, mules, dogs—are especially well-drawn.


Jager’s research is impressive, her pacing is excellent, and she brings the case to its conclusion through police work in believable contexts, never resorting to any of the mystery genre’s tired clichés. No confession-confrontation at gun or knife point. No sudden death of the guilty party instead of justice. Not only is the story strong and dramatic, it’s more fully engaging for being free of these clichés. The author gets a five star.


The editor, however, doesn’t. The book was proofread (there are no typos), but not adequately edited for grammar, sentence structure, and word choice. Letting these problems slide in such a page-turning book, rather making changes or asking the author for revisions, is like putting speedbumps in a race track. I didn’t hit enough of these speedbumps to ruin the book, but I feel that a writer with Jager’s story-telling skill deserves better work from her editor, and so do her readers.