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Dark of Night (Annie Pedersen, #2) by Colleen Coble 

An immensely satisfying follow-up to the series debut with relatable main characters and tense, non-stop action! 

If her former fiancé's return to Rock Harbor wasn't shocking enough, the discovery that her new employee at the resort was her long-lost sister had Park Ranger Annie Pederson reeling. When Annie was eight years old, she and her younger sister were attacked while on the dock of Tremolo Island as they watched and listened to the osounds of the loons that flocked there at night. Annie was stabbed and left to die, but Sarah had been taken and never seen or heard from again. Until now. The young woman Annie knew as Taylor Moore had shown up looking for work, her natural blonde hair dyed a bright red and wearing contacts to change her vivid blue eyes brown. And while Annie had continued to search for the sister she loved and longed to bring home, Sarah had developed and nursed a deep-seated hatred toward the older sister she believed could have prevented her abduction. With Jon Dunstan back in town, seeking to revive their relationship, and her 9-year-old daughter, Kylie, resenting his appearance in their lives, Annie is determined to uncover the truth of what happened all those years ago and if Taylor Moore is really who she claims to be. 

Dark of Night is the second book in author Colleen Coble's Christian romantic suspense series featuring Park Ranger Annie Pederson. It is even more exciting than the first book. So, if you enjoyed the series' debut novel, Edge of Dusk, you will love this action-packed follow-up! 

Annie Pederson, the titular heroine of the series, is personable and so very likable. I found her to be an intelligent woman and investigator, steadfast and loyal in her relationships, although conflicted, and a capable and knowledgeable outdoorswoman. However, she has been put through the wringer in her lifetime, especially during the last two years with the loss of her husband, Nate, and both of her parents. She is not alone in her grief; Annie's eight-year-old daughter, Kylie, is still struggling with losing her father and is very vulnerable. 

And there's more. 

Adding to the stress and recent emotional devastation, Kylie has had some health problems, which led to Annie's discovery that Nate is not Kylie's biological father. Annie had married Nate on the rebound less than a month after breaking up with her fiancé, Jon Dunstan, who had immediately left town for an internship at the Mayo Clinic, never to step foot in Rock Harbor in nine years … until now. I loved that both Annie and Jon still had feelings for each other nine years after their unnecessary split and were giving their relationship a second chance but this time as adults. I ached each time Kylie rejected Jon's overtures to get closer to his daughter. 

Their whole story is made even more complex by the sudden reappearance of Annie's sister, Sarah, who had been abducted from Annie's side as a five-year-old. It was agonizing to see Sarah blame Annie for her tragic life and her rage over all that had occurred. Also, I could feel Annie's great disappointment over their reunion and helplessness in getting Sarah to understand that she had also been fighting for her life at the time, followed by her mistrust of the woman claiming to be her sister. But that conflict paves the way for much more action and excitement later. 

A second major plotline involves the character Michelle Fraser, who has been locked in a remote mountain cabin, suffering from a badly broken ankle. Her storyline is so intense I couldn't look away or put the book down whenever the story shifted to her point of view. For both Michelle and Annie, if it weren't for bad luck, these women would have no luck at all. 

With its relatable and engaging characters, tense storylines, and unrelenting action, I recommend DARK OF NIGHT to mystery and suspense readers and those who enjoyed the first book in the series. 

I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving an Advanced Review Copy from the author through Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours.

 

*See my review for EDGE OF DUSK, book one in the Annie Pederson series here!

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