Book Review: The Loner

The publisher provided me with a copy of this book to review via NetGalley.

This is the seventh book in the Jackson Hole series, however it can be read as a standalone.

This book had a fairly good opening, gave some of the past on Dakota, his time as a Navy SEAL, how and why he got discharged and his reasons for living alone in the mountains. It also added a dash of action when a grizzly comes out of the trees and attacks him, thus forcing him to go into town, a place he avoids as much as he can. However one issue that I did have with this first chapter comes when the bears rushes at Dakota, in that moment it says that the bear is a male, now I highly doubt that most people, if anyone for that matter, would be able to determine the gender of a grizzly, especially one charging at you with all intents of killing you. In fact I’m pretty sure the last thing on anyone’s mind while faced with a grizzly attack is knowing whether it is a male or female.

Though Shelby is introduced to Dakota through a chance meeting of being at the hospital when he arrives there is an almost instant attraction between the two. Now this is a very popular theme in romance novels and in a sense is really overdone. However I ignored this obvious cliche and focused on the rest of the story. Dakota and Shelby do butt heads a bit when he is in recovery, both are stubborn in their own way and it makes for some interesting conversation. And let’s not forget about how these two suffer from that unfortunate things known as pre-romance husky voice syndrome. Because no romance novel can have two people intended to fall in love with each other and not make several mentions of how husky each others voice sound from the beginning they meet right up to the end of the book.

There were a couple of holes in the story as well. For example, Dakota was forced to leave his truck at the hospital because of a dead battery. He would be driven back into town the next day by Shelby and then he would be able to get his truck back. Yet that night when he wakes up with a fever and realizes that infection has set in from his wounds he wonders if he can make it to his truck to drive back into town, except that his truck is in town. Now perhaps that was just his addled mind thinking that but it stood out to me as a fault in the story. Then a bit later on there is mention of them needing to go get Dakota’s truck but they are sidelines by a number of things happening.

Both Shelby and Dakota are suffering from loss and grief in their own ways, but together they can help each other cope with this. But they also have a kindred bond over two convcts, these two men raped and killed Dakota’s brother but it was Shelby who captured them as a rookie deputy.

I liked that both Shelby and Dakota got to show of a number of the skills they were well versed in, while both could track Dakota lent his SEAL survival skills and Shelby showed that having compassion for those she is helping is a valuable asset as well as a strong understanding of others, be it victims or convicts.

It was nice to see some of the character from the other books in this series making an appearance, namely Dr. Jordana McPherson and Curt Downing. However I was actually surprised by the events surrounding Curt Downing, I had been hoping he would be somehow involved in this story but did not expect it to turn out this way. It certainly leaves something open to happen in the futurem which may in turn lead to another book in the series.

There was a good amount of suspense in this book, especially in the second half, between the escaped convicts, the missing man, the two children who got lost in the woods, when Shelby was finally captured by one of the convicts and the fight for her life.

Overall I enjoyed this book. It did have a few parts where the information didn’t line up with the rest of the story. It did have a few slow parts and there were times when I felt the talk of PSTD and overcoming various emotions sort of bogged down the story, however moving past those this was a good read. The characters had a nice amount of background, were connected together from the beginning even if they didn’t realize it, worked together to not only help each other but to help others and stop two killers, and there were a couple of twists along the way. I would certainly recommend this book to those who enjoy romance, especially romance with a suspense feel to it, but also to anyone who has read other books in the Jackson Hole series.

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