Monday, 22 August 2016

Review: In the Barren Ground by Loreth Anne White

In the Barren Ground by Loreth Anne White
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Publication date: August 16th 2016
My rating: 3.5 stars 
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In the Barrens, a vast wilderness in northern Canada bordering the Arctic Circle, night consumes every hour of the winter. Humans are scarce; ferocious predators roam freely. Locals say spirits do, too.

Rookie cop Tana Larsson doesn’t mind the dark and quiet. Five months pregnant and hoping to escape the mistakes of her past, she takes a post in Twin Rivers, population 320. Maybe here she can find peace and community for her child.

But with her superior out of commission, Tana becomes the sole police officer in 17,500 square miles. One bitter night, she gets a call about the fatal wolf mauling of two students, and the only way to reach the remote scene is to enlist the help of the arrogant, irritatingly handsome Cameron “Crash” O’Halloran, a local bush pilot with a shady reputation for smuggling and a past cloaked in shadow.

When the macabre scene they uncover suggests violence much more sinister than animal, Tana must trust Crash if she wants to protect the town—and herself—from the evil that lurks in the frozen dark.

My Thoughts:
Tana Larsson is a young Royal Mountie policewoman, the lone law enforcement officer in the small town of Twin Rivers, way up in northern Canada.  Five months pregnant and looking to heal from past errors, she doesn’t mind the isolated post, but her situation becomes very complicated when two research students are brutally killed by what appears to be animals.  As details come to light, Tana questions whether it was just an animal attack. Delving into this mystery is a dangerous business, especially when it seems she has no one in her corner.  Should Tana trust the local pilot, Crash O’Halloran, with his shady business dealings for help or risk plowing in alone?

This is the third mystery I’ve read by Loreth Anne White, and while In the Waning Light is still my favorite, In the Barren Ground creeped me out, and had me guessing until the end. I was definitely surprised and didn’t see how it all came together until pretty late in the story. I love it when I don’t have everything figured out!

While I liked the story, the romance was a bit disappointing.  Tana was so suspicious of Crash until almost the end, so I didn’t feel a real bond between them, mostly because of Tana, for a lot of the story. I can see how she would have reservations about his character, but the situation was frustrating for me.

In the Barren Ground was eerie with the cold, dark, wintry setting of northern Canada giving it a sinister edge that felt similar (to me) to the movie 30 Days of Night. That was a paranormal horror flick, and while In the Barren Ground wasn’t paranormal, portions of this story had that feel to me. Definitely appealing to horror fans like me.

Connect with Loreth Anne White:


  1. Ooh, this sounds fantastic! While I'll probably dive into a more romantic novel at first, I'm excited to try out more of this genre. Amazing review, Rachel!

  2. Great review, Rachel. I set this one aside, because it just wasn't keeping my attention. I think I'm going to pick up In the Waning Light instead, because I really want to like this author!

  3. Canada! This is the first time I've heard about this book, tbh. Thanks for putting it on my radar. I'm always game for books in a Canadian setting even those Twin Rivers sounds like a remote place. Also, a good mystery is good for the heart. :)

  4. I haven't read any adult books set in Canada. While this one looks suspenseful, it's not one I'd pick up on my own. Maybe if I am inside on a cold night, I'd borrow it from Overdrive. Just the fact that she's pregnant and that danger lurking, scares me. LOL

  5. Awww, I'm sorry you thought this one was a bit disappointing in terms of romance! If I know a book is a romance novel, I'd have certain expectations about the romance. But it sounds like a good mystery (and horror?) series.

    Great review, Rachel!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

  6. I'm a romance reader first and a mystery/suspense reader second, so I think I would have had the same issue with this one, by the sounds of it! Sad because what a setting! And I love the idea of a female Mountie!

  7. Great review Rachel! I totally get what you're saying about the romance -- it definitely wasn't the most prominent in the book but I got Tana being gun show as it was. I definitely need to read In the Waning Light soon!! ♥

  8. This gives me chills just reading the review. I think I will pass on this for now since I need light and fluffy.

  9. Lovely review Rachel :) I'm glad you liked this one. But so sorry it had some issues :\ And aw, the romance wasn't very good? That always sucks. Sigh. But glad you didn't hate the book because of it, lol :)


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