The tag line of this title should have warned me: Passions In The Park Series. This book is a good example of either a good mystery being interrupted by a bad romance story, or a romance story being interrupted by a so-so mystery.
It starts off well enough – apparently a serial killer has struck again. The M.O. is the murder of a young woman, taking out the heart and replacing it with a live seeding tree, building a casket and leaving the body in the casket in some wooded area. This time, the scene is in Denali National Park in Alaska. Forest Ranger Greyson Beauchene is the protagonist here, and whose main love is the Park.
The rangers call in the FBI who arrive by helicopter. Now where it gets awful is the first person off that helicopter is the profiler, a psychologist, young and beautiful (what else?) who steps off the helicopter barking orders at everyone and being horribly rude to all and sundry. Just Bitch on Wheels. Sigh,
So we have Dudley Doright Beauchene vs. Taming of the Shrew, and since they both hate each other on sight, we readers know what is inevitable, and when after a couple of days of fighting, he grabs her and they kiss, all we can say is, “Oh, for Pete’s Sake, get on with the mystery.” Or, if we are more Romance fan than Mystery fan, we say, “Awww, I knew they would fall in love.”
One of the FBI team turns out to be under the sway of the Mystery Bad Person, and kills some of the team, but this isn’t much of a spoiler because all that happens pretty early on in the book. There is lots more to come, and it is actually not a bad thriller/mystery after all.
I guess by now you have figured out that I don’t like my mysteries messed up with too much True Romance style romance, although I do like them with personal character development of the various individuals and if that includes something more personal, then fine, but the over-the-top tropes of the Taming of the Shrew variety are just too cliche for me. To each his or her own.