Ever since he was nine years old, Reeve Landon has been haunted by an accident that resulted in the death of his best friend. Struggling to form relationships, Reeve wasn’t even able to stay committed to FBI agent Ali Paige, with whom he shares a daughter named Emily.
When readers meet Reeve, he’s wandering around Montana’s Glacier National Park, taking in the beautiful autumn scenery alongside his beloved Labrador, McKay, who helps him track animal scat. It’s not necessarily his dream job, but it’s a job nonetheless, and, all things considered, Reeve has come a long way from his troubled youth. When Anne Marie Johnson, an investigative reporter, shows up to shadow Reeve and McKay for a piece she’s working on, Landon is initially apprehensive. Things worsen when the attractive Anne Marie begins asking questions that have little to do with Reeve’s current job and more to do with the incident from when he was nine — a subject he has no desire to talk about.
The story takes a turn when Anne Marie is later found dead in a remote cabin. Reeve is questioned by police but isn’t charged, even though it’s pretty clear he’s their only real suspect. Scared that karma has finally caught up to him for what happened all those years ago, Reeve becomes convinced he’ll go down for the reporter’s murder and flees into the woods with McKay. His absence only solidifies his position as suspect number one in the eyes of Detectives Brander and Reynolds, who double down on their assumption and go about trying to nail Reeve for the homicide. With nowhere to turn, Reeve runs to his ex-girlfriend Ali Paige for help.
At first, Page pokes holes in Reeve’s story and even manages to catch him in a lie when he claims Anne Marie was never at his house. Two unwashed wine glasses indicated she was, and Ali gives him the name and number of an attorney — whom Reeve doesn’t call. In the end, it’s their daughter, still young and innocent, who makes Ali reverse course and get involved, even though she’s technically not allowed to because her past relationship with Reeve is a clear conflict of interest. Ali had an abusive childhood, and that, coupled with the hell Reeve’s lived with for so long, is enough to make her fear that Emily is doomed to likewise have a hard upbringing filled with shame and anger if her father is convicted of murder.
Unwilling to sit by and watch her daughter go through the same pain she knows so intimately, Ali risks her own career to help Reeve, only to quickly discover that there’s much more to the flirty reporter than they originally thought. It turns out that Anne Marie’s been chasing a story that’s upset a lot of people, giving Ali a potential list of people who could have wanted her dead.
With little time to waste as the detectives build their case against Reeve, Ali must decide how far she’ll go to find out what really happened, even if it means losing her job or putting her own life in danger.
Carbo’s fourth novel is another well-written crime thriller that continues to explore the vast Montana wilderness the same way C.J. Box’s series takes readers through the state of Wyoming. While Ali has little in common with game warden Joe Pickett, Carbo’s sharp prose and tight plotting resemble Box’s style, with shades of Paul Doiron and William Kent Krueger folded in for good measure. The main difference is that, more than those other authors, Carbo’s story shifts POVs throughout, allowing readers to see the plot unfold from both Ali and Reeve’s perspectives. Not only does that build suspense, but it allows readers to gain a unique insight into multiple characters, which in turn will make them care more about the final outcome.
Stylish, fun, and beautifully written, A Sharp Solitude is an engaging thriller that doesn’t disappoint. . . Christine Carbo knows how to deliver, and she does so yet again with her latest offering.
Author: Christine Carbo
Series: Glacier Mystery Series #4
Pages: 368 (Paperback)
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: May 29, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 7.5/10
Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.