Rachel Grant is known for her bestselling political thriller book series Evidence and Flashpoint. Both of these series portray archeologists as primary characters and the books are always set in archeological sites or places of historic importance. Fiona Carver is yet another book series from this author with archeologist Fiona Carver as the central character. The first book. “Dangerous Ground”, was released in August of 2021 and the next book, “Crash Site”, was released last month. When I got a chance to read and review Crash Site, I opted to first read the Dangerous Ground so as to get a good understanding of the dynamics of the primary characters. Now that I have read both these books back to back, my review will elaborate my thoughts about both of them.
Dangerous Ground started off in a fictional village in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska, with our heroine Fiona taking off for an expedition to a prehistoric site. She had to abandon her first expedition to this place abruptly due to some unexpected site conditions, just when she had discovered some interesting findings. She also meets Bill aka Dean Slater, who is supposed to be the ornithologist assigned to the expedition to find evidence of a rare bird. What she doesn’t know is that Dean has joined the expedition with an alternate credential in order to find the truth behind the disappearance of his twin brother Dylan Slater, a volcanologist.
On the second day of their expedition, both of them get caught in a completely unexpected struggle for life. Fiona, who has by now started having doubts about the authenticity of Bill/Dean, does not want to trust him and sets out to find an escape route by herself. But circumstances persuade her to work in cohort with Dean to find a way out of the danger they are both in. As she gets to know him, she begins to trust him more and starts to depend on him when their predicament becomes more dire. The latter 3/4th of the book deals completely with Dean and Fiona’s struggles as they find their way out of one life-threatening situation after another, while trying to find Dylan’s whereabouts.
Author Rachel Grant provides vivid description of the islands and volcanic mountains in which both of them are stranded; so much so that it brings the reader to the soaring, cold Alaskan mountains. The main characters of the book are all well-defined with sufficient backgrounds for the reader to understand their motivations and priorities, but the other characters lack such depth. I liked the characterization of the heroine Fiona very much. She is unfazed in even the most terrifying situations and just powers on with whatever has to be done next. She is practical, loyal, and honest while dealing with well-hidden vulnerabilities. I also quite enjoyed Dean’s character and even sympathized with him to some extent but just didn’t always agree with his actions.
This book is more of a survival- and adventure-thriller rather than a typical mystery. The final couple of chapters of the book were nail-biting, terrifying and managed to be emotional to some extent as well. The author has tried to incorporate some romantic elements within the story; they work fairly good but are just not excellent. This book is a decent read if you like to read survival thrillers containing archeological references.
Crash Site starts off about nine months after the events of Dangerous Ground. Both Fiona and Dean, who had mutually decided not to get into a relationship, are unexpectedly thrown together into another seemingly regular inventory of the fictional Caribbean Island, Ruby Island. Both Dean and Fiona struggle to maintain the status quo of just remaining friends, battling against their mutual attraction. But as it is usual for them, they witness few unusual happenings around them and are not really sure what exactly is going on in the island. The chemistry between Fiona and Dean and their dilemmas towards forming a relationship are explored more in this book. As is usual, they once again find themselves in a life-or-death situation, being chased by people who are bent on killing them despite having no personal qualms with them whatsoever.
By the time we finish the book we get to know whether they have managed to get themselves out of their terrifying predicament and also the status of their romantic relationship. I must say this book created a much more satisfying emotional connection with me rather than the first book. The author has also delved deeper into the other repeating characters and we get to know them more. By the time we are about half way through the book, we end up rooting for all of them. Crash Site is a more lengthy book with lots happening in the space of a few days. The book dragged a bit till about half way through but from there it starts to power through once things start to get really serious. Despite that, I enjoyed this book more than the first one.
Be sure to check this book series if you like to read about exotic locations, love books which contain archeological details and love to know other fascinating things that you have never heard about.
This series gets 4 out of 5 stars.