Edge of Dusk (Annie Pederson, #1) by Colleen Coble
Tragic, tense, and gritty, EDGE OF DUSK is romantic suspense at its best!
It was summer again in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and time for Park Ranger Annie Pederson to take leave and oversee the reopening and operation of her family’s marina and camping resort. Annie’s husband, Nate, and her parents had died a couple of years earlier on Lake Superior, so it was now just her and her young daughter, Kylie. The camp was hard work, but it looked like it was gearing up to be a great summer, that is, until she caught sight of her former fiancé in downtown Rock Harbor.
Annie’s had not been a carefree life. Twenty-four years earlier, 9-year-old Annie and her little sister, Sarah, had snuck out of the family’s lake cabin late on Tremolo Island late one night to watch and listen to the loons. But as they sat together on the end of a dock, a large canoe approached. Annie was stabbed and thrown into the lake to drown while Sarah was taken, never to be seen or heard from again.
Jon Dunstan was back in Rock Harbor to ready his family’s summer cabin for sale. A busy orthopedic surgeon in Rochester, Jon hadn’t been back to the place in nine years, and with his mother gone and his father recuperating from a recent stroke, he wasn’t likely to spend any more summers here. But after embarking on the repairs and upgrades necessary to get the property listed, the beautiful, calming setting began to work its magic on both Jon and his ailing father. And this is where Annie, the only woman he’d ever loved, still lived.
While Jon’s return brings back many memories and regrets for Annie and Jon, his reappearance also sets off old rumors about why he left Rock Harbor nine years ago. He went to take up a much sought-after internship with the Mayo Clinic; still, others gossiped that he’d been involved in the disappearance of two teenage girls who were last seen in his company. Since his return, there had been two random attacks on campers in the area, and some were eager to point the finger his way.
Edge of Dusk is the first book in a new series by renowned author Colleen Coble featuring Park Ranger Annie Pederson. The plot is tragic and tense as Annie investigates the cold-case disappearance of Penelope Day and Sophie Smith to find the answers to what happened to them and, hopefully, clear Jon’s name once and for all.
Annie is an energetic go-getter, working as a park ranger and keeping the family business afloat while being a single parent to her daughter, Kylie. The two are still grieving the loss of husband and father, Nate, with Kylie terrified that something will happen to her mother. It is hard watching Jon try to find common, acceptable ground with Kylie, especially with Kylie’s true parentage up in the air.
The story is told from a couple of different viewpoints: Annie’s, Jon’s, and the hired hand at the marina/resort, Taylor’s. Readers are privy to Annie’s and Jon’s inner thoughts about their failed relationship and continued love for each other. I couldn’t help but root for this couple to finally talk to each other about their past. For most of the story, Taylor Moore is a wild card of a character, and there are surprising plot twists regarding her. There is a big reveal of a cliffhanger ending to this book.
As an experienced law enforcement officer, Annie runs a legitimate investigation into the disappearance of the two teenage hikers. So, while this feels a bit like a cozy mystery, it is much grittier than that, and there is a professionally-trained investigator at the helm. Annie and Jon team up to clear his name, and the pair head out across the Upper Peninsula region to chase down leads. I enjoyed the variety of interesting small towns and legendary local establishments woven into the story, such as Poorrock Abbey’s Jampot in Eagle River. (I can confirm that you can buy their jam online.) The descriptions of the beauty of the area and Lake Superior really shine and will tempt you to plan your next vacation to visit it.
I recommend EDGE OF DUSK to romantic suspense readers who enjoy a lot of action, second-chance romance plots, and a great Upper Peninsula location.
*See my review for DARK OF NIGHT, book two in the Annie Pederson series, here!