When a young girl goes missing from a family pick-nick somewhere along the Appalachian Trail, detective Ellie Reeves remembers a night when she herself was lost in the woods as a child and will do everything to find the child. Ranger Cord McClain is the best tracker around and organises the Search and Rescue teams. With a big storm brewing up and freezing temperatures, there’s no time to lose. As part of normal protocol, both parents are interrogated and all their little and big secrets are exposed. But then, FBI-agent Derrick Fox turns up with the theory that there’s a serial killer hunting the trail for the last 25 years, his own sister being the first victim. It’s not only her own past demons that make life difficult for Ellie. She just found out that her dad, the local sheriff, chooses his deputy Bryce above her to be his successor. Bryce seems more interested in making a good impression on the press and public can obstruct their investigation. She doesn’t know who to trust anymore and negative sentiments are only the start of a deteriorating relationship between the rescuers.

The way the suspense in this story is kept up throughout the whole book is fantastic. The suspicion slides back and forth between several people, including those involved in the search. I had my own ideas as to whom the killer was with lots of hints from the author that send me in this or that direction, but all were wrong. The final explanation and reveal were still different from what I assumed.
My main problem with this book is the lack of realism when it comes down to police procedures, protocols, or investigation techniques. Ellie just does what she wants without any knowledge or consent from her superiors and teammates. She ignores her boss’ phone calls for days on end without any repercussions, doesn’t tell anyone where she goes or what she does. She seems to work completely alone most of the time. During the initial stage of the investigation, she has some colleagues helping with inquiries but when Derrick turns up, it’s just them 2 doing everything. It's as if the rest of the team vanished in thin air. Also, the time frame for the last 2 days is completely impossible (in my opinion) given the difficulty of the terrain in combination with the weather. Usually, I don’t mind a bit of creative imaginative writing but here it stretches rather far.
But if you’re prepared to overlook those imperfections, it’s a real good and entertaining thriller. There’s a twist in the tail with a serious sting and this opens the door for 1 or more sequels. If they come my way, I’ll read them.
I’m in limbo over the rating; 3,5 would be my vote, a 3 doesn’t give it enough credit but I’m not completely happy with a 4.
I thank Netgalley and Bookouture for their free ARC; this is my honest and unbiased review of it.

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