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Harbinger: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 3 Kindle Edition
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"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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Fast forward to 2014 on Wake-Robin Ridge. It’s been a quiet time since the Cole family expanded to four, with the addition of baby Branna, but now Sheriff Raleigh Wardell has asked Mac for help, while hoping Rabbit might come up with something as well. The Sheriff has never forgotten the twenty year old cold case of missing Sissy Birdwell and he hopes between them they can at last solve the mystery.
Cadey Hagan has been having the same nightmare, of being chased by a huge black dog with fiery eyes, repeatedly for the past twenty years. Despite his persona of a decent, upstanding citizen and the deacon of the Light of Grace Baptist church, the dream wouldn’t release it’s hold and was even becoming more frequent. Cady mistakenly believed that as long as he appeared to be caring and considerate, a good man, then that’s what he actually was, regardless of the truth in his heart.
The story is told in part from Sarah’s perspective, the rest in the third person, as it has from the beginning of the series and it works well. Rabbit is trying desperately to control his increasingly expanding gift. His ability to sense, and see, things others can’t is sometimes overwhelming. It’s a huge burden for a child to carry but Rabbit is committed to doing all he can for Sissy and her mother. He has his friendship with Finn as a balance, when they are just two boys having fun, but Sarah and Mac can’t help worrying about him.
The Ol’ Shuck legend is worked into the story very effectively. When a person’s life is shallow and everything they are and do revolves around appearances, guilt can take on a life of it’s own. Cadey Hagen’s personality conveys this perfectly.
The descriptions of the area are wonderful, and as always, very visual. The dialogue is relevant to each character, and they are all realistic, fully developed and vividly drawn, Rabbit is as loveable as ever. The narrative is well paced and as it unfolds the suspense increases culminating in a dramatic climax.
The book opens with a scene from June 1994, eight year old Sissy Birdwell steps off the school bus on the last day of term and begins her walk up the long road to home, it's not a walk she enjoys alone, sometimes things scare her, but she sets bravely off. Along the road she meets Cadey Hagen a boy and mountain neighbour. He is currently suspended from school and is a known trouble maker. He invites Sissy into the woods to show her a secret.
Twenty years later Sheriff Raleigh Wardell asks Mac Cole and his son for help with a cold case. Eleven year old Rabbit is the adopted son of Mac and Sarah, a gifted child who has the sight. Mac also owns a computer research company and Wardell hopes they can help him solve the case of a missing girl.
Several miles away Deacon Cadey Hagen has lived the last twenty years of his life as a reformed man, a husband and model member of society with an uneventful life, except for the recurring nightmare which haunts him. For some reason the dream has become more frequent - Ol'shuck a harbinger of death stalks and chases Cadey through the woods, forcing him to awake screaming.
Mac and Sarah have concerns about allowing Rabbit to be involved in the search for a missing girl, but Rabbit believes finding her can only bring peace to her poor grieving mother. Visions and messages give clues, but Rabbit also needs to protect himself from an overdose of voices all wanting to be heard. He learns to control and grow with his gift in a heart-warming manner.
These books have wonderful settings which come to life in the author's pen, the slow build up of the suspense is an ideal pace, allowing details to be discovered. I really enjoyed the continuation of Rabbit who we first met in book #2, he really is a delight to read about and I can see that there may be many more tales and cases to solve for Cole & Son in the future.
Well, Marcia's done it again! This book is another amazing tale that weaves together believable characters - some of whom you come to love like part of your own family - and a plot line that twists and turns with menace, love and a touch of the supernatural. Once more, it's Rabbit who delights with his original take on things, his idiosyncratic speech and his innate, uncomplicated goodnessand sensitivity. His adopted family are also beautifully drawn and their handling of their remarkable son is touching and quite wonderful.
There is real psychological insight in here that makes the characters- good and bad- understandable and real and this is what gives the book another of its strengths. These aren't cardboard stereotypes and you get inside their heads and know what makes them 'tick'. I can't be the only person who has identified with some of the good AND the bad thoughts in here!
It's a fine, punchy finale to the series and I shall go now and look for another Marcia Meara book to take its place; whichever one I go for it's got a lot to live up to...