S. & S. Audio. Jan. 2024. 9:45 hrs. ISBN 9781797167893. $19.99. THRILLER
Eli North, a former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service investigator, has sunk low after two years’ deployment in Afghanistan. He is addicted to alcohol and prone to blackouts and retains his job as a sheriff’s deputy in the Northwoods of Wisconsin only because his mother is the sheriff. Eli is a difficult character who disappoints everyone around him, including his beloved son. However, when he finds the body of a young man, he becomes deeply involved in the case, working with an FBI agent, Alyssa Mason. The mystery intensifies when the dead boy’s wealthy girlfriend disappears. Eli’s addiction worsens as he investigates; others in the community also contend with substance-use disorder. Though the novel’s numerous plot points are occasionally overwhelming, listeners will be rapt. Chris Henry Coffey narrates with a world-weary air and craggy voice, poignantly portraying a man at the end of his rope. Coffey is adept at voicing the other characters too. Zac Aleman voices a few chapters as one of the men involved in the pharmaceutical mystery at the heart of the story.
VERDICT This debut novel will surely appeal to fans of James Lee Burke and those interested in mysteries involving addiction, veterans with PTSD, and family relationships that tie everything together.
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