Thursday, February 4, 2016

ARC Review: COLD EVIDENCE by Rachel Grant

by Rachel Grant
Evidence series #6

The frigid waters of the Pacific Northwest are about to get hot… 

The only thing Navy underwater archaeologist Undine Gray fears more than facing former SEAL Luke Sevick is never scuba diving again. But when a dive on a Cold War-era US Navy submarine ends with an accidental explosion, she’s terrified of going into the deep, forcing her to beg the most experienced diver she knows to take her back to the bottom of the cold Salish Sea. 

Luke wants nothing to do with the woman who destroyed his career a dozen years ago but finds it impossible to turn his back on her plea. Caught off-guard by an attraction he doesn’t want to feel, he’s eager to be done with this mission of mercy. But when they dive on the wreck, he only gets sucked in deeper. Someone has been digging on the Navy sub…and it appears the explosion that almost killed Undine was no accident. 

To find the truth, Undine must navigate murky waters and the unexpectedly hot undercurrents swirling between her and Luke. Worse, divers are searching for something lost in US waters during the Cold War, and they’ll do anything to keep Luke and Undine from finding it first.

In the past I have noted that Rachel Grant writes my favorite kind of heroines – intelligent, quirky, courageous, and just this side of dorky.  But I also appreciate that Ms. Grant always infuses history into her stories as well.  It’s not the kind of history that focuses on names and dates, but history as the study of human choices.  

The story behind the story is heroic.  The mystery of the Wrasse feels like a treasure hunt, not for gold, but for the truth, and this nugget feels precious. I was sucked right in. The circumstances surrounding the sinking of the Wrasse is complex. Cold War politics is insidious and the potential nuclear threat against the U.S. very real. It is a very stressful time in our history.  To that, the author incorporates more recent events from Russia's struggle to maintain its territories. As an ally, we have a level of culpability to what Russia does to its people.  We are engaged in geo-politics.  Some might find it highly detailed, but I enjoy the complexity. Maybe it is because of the submarine, but it reminds me a little of The Hunt for Red October

It would not be a Rachel Grant book without hot romance. The start of Undine and Luke's relationship is messy and complicated. I had a moment of pause when the circumstance of the initial relationship is revealed.   Luke's fury is fully justified. Undine does him wrong. I understand her explanations, but the consequences of her deception could have been profoundly bad for Luke, and it takes a while to restore my faith in her.  There is a lot of back and forth in this relationship.  Both are indecisive on what they want from each other and this continues through most of the narrative.  Perhaps for me, this is the weakest part of the book.  Nonetheless, given their really rough start, I can understand Luke’s confusion on why he is still attracted to this girl.  A relationship with her is a land mine of triggers. I give Undine a lot of credit for her bravery in trying to mend this bridge. The snappy dialogue keeps the relationship moving, and their flirting is intimate like second chance stories should be. 

After reading this book, I’m packing my bags and finding a way to get to the Pacific Northwest.  Rachel Grant paints a vivid picture of the region that is irresistible. It’s an area filled with gorgeous sunsets, a serene environment, and majestic ocean views. A stay at Hobuck cabins is on my bucket list.  

With a compelling fictional history, beautiful environment, tightly written mystery and a complex romance, Cold Evidence is a great addition to Rachel Grant’s evidence series. 

Thank you to the author for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.  

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