Author: Sarah Barrie
Publisher: HQ Fiction
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher
Sarah Barrie is an acclaimed Australian author who writes rural romantic suspense. The current book is a stand-alone thriller that shares a couple of characters with her trilogy. I hadn’t read Sarah Barrie before but after Bloodtree River I will be sure to keep an eye out for her.
Indy O’Meara is a Sydney detective with a violence filled past, she became a police officer to try and get bad guys off the street. She is dedicated and good at her job, she is also perfect for undercover work because she has no-one at home wondering where she is. Indy is a fantastic lead, I loved her. She is kind and sensitive but she has a kick ass attitude and the moves to back it up. She was interesting to get to know and watching her undercover gave me more than a couple of giggles.
A remote Tasmanian cattle station has had some trouble with missing girls over a number of years and they haven’t been able to close the case. A Senator’s daughter is the latest girl to disappear and he wants answers, and he isn’t afraid to use his position to make sure another investigation is started down there. The main suspect looks like a shoo-in but there isn’t enough evidence, part of Indy’s role is to find the necessary evidence; without arousing suspicion that she is anything but who she says she is.
Bloodtree River is a romantic suspense story and that makes it super important to be careful what I say, there’s nothing worse than suspense spoilers. Actually, that might be a slight exaggeration but it’s still pretty bad.
Logan Atherton is part of the management team at Calico Mountain Lodge and the prime suspect in the disappearances. He and all the senior staff at the family owned and run Lodge are adamant it has nothing to do with them and they, and their business, are suffering at the hands of the police and the media. They want it sorted but they are also becoming wary and worn down. It’s increasingly difficult to stay well staffed and they are all putting in a lot of extra work to keep the business afloat. He is charismatic and charming but his eyes also hold an icy depth, because there is a lot of contradiction to him it makes him enigmatic and hard to read.
The start of the story had Logan looking guilty as not quite charged, and no other suspects worth considering but before long we are questioning whether he is really capable of that even though some of his actions leaving us thinking he is the answer, and starting to consider a much longer suspect list. Barrie has woven some fantastic red herrings into the narrative which leave you forever wondering where you want to cast suspicion.
The romance element is, I guess, a little predictable but it was well written and I was enchanted. I wanted things to work out.
Bloodtree River incorporates a lot of information which I found quite interesting about the Lodge, the produce farms and the police procedural point of view. I was out last night and when I got home I decided to read a couple of chapters before bed because the house was so quiet and peaceful…. at 2.30am I forced myself to put the book down and go to bed because I had to be up early for a fun run. I was captivated, I couldn’t walk away from the story because I had to know. In the end, I went to bed with about 4 chapters to go because I knew I wouldn’t sleep if I finished it.
Barrie writes with consistent pacing, gripping tension and more than a couple of twists that came out of the blue for me. I am glad I read this one and will definitely add the Hunters Ridge trilogy to my wishlist and Sarah Barrie to my watch list. A solid suspense that kept me guessing and captivated.
Bloodtree River is book #21 for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2018.