(Part 7 of the Red Dog Conspiracy)
The story starts out at a run. It picks up from where Part 6 ends and amps the tension immediately with an attempt on Jacqui’s life. This style is very much a return to the earlier books. There’s a mystery that touches a little too close, intrigue including the revelation of something I’ve suspected for some time, and Jacqui considering her relationships through new perspectives.
Speaking of characters, the series connections showed more clearly here as Jacqui crossed paths with people from other books, especially those where she wasn’t the lead. It strengthens the sense of building to something bigger than Jacqui and yet explicitly bound to her. And if you’ve been following my reviews on the series, it sure looks like the steam generators and the city’s design is in the middle of everything.
This book is not a standalone, and certain events relate closely to what happened in the previous book. I had to shake clear some cobwebs, but the clues are there to remind the attentive reader. Jacqui faces some of her biases she’s been blind to, which only makes me like her more, and yet don’t think she puts aside all her false beliefs. She gains some unexpected answers that throw her whole sense of self in question while she’s not the only character to experience growth when it hadn’t seemed possible. I quite enjoyed the maturation of characters in this book.
Many of Jacqui’s major growth moments involve her connections with others. She still assumes everything happens to torment her but seems surprised when other characters find the same link. Personally, I think it’s a little of both–a bigger picture we can’t see and playing Jacqui like the card she is rather than the one she believes herself to be.
The seeding of events works well, and I had fun building the pieces of the puzzle. The reader’s attention is drawn to things for which the book often provides plausible explanations, but I still had lingering doubts. I found myself growing suspicious of many a mention, probably too many. I’m not sure where everything that happened in this book is headed, if anywhere, but I’m certainly eager to find out.
P.S. I received this Advanced Reader Copy from the author in hopes of a review.
Note: I know I’ve been absent for a while. My father has always been supportive of my creative enterprises and inspired me to become a storyteller long before I could write. His absence weighs on me, but he would want me to keep working on everything. I do plan to get back to where things were. For the time being, though, I have great books to review (including this one) and waiting to be read. I may post more reviews than before, and these may appear where other topics did for a bit. I hope you stick with me and find some Tales to Tide You Over.