The Alaska bush in all its raw beauty is an unforgiving environment, especially for someone like U.S. Marshal Arliss Cutter who grew up in the marshy lowlands of Florida. But Cutter moved to Alaska to take care of his late brother’s wife, niece and twin nephews. After four failed marriages, it’s the closest Arliss has come to feeling like he’s part of a family. When he and his partner, deputy LolaTeariki are assigned to escort a federal judge to Stone Cross because the judge has received death threats, the USMS takes those threats seriously even if Judge Markham doesn’t. It’s early October but winter is already on the doorstep in the Alaskan outback and they pack clothing and equipment with that in mind.
When Cutter and Lola arrive with the judge, who is still refusing protection, the village is gripped in a fearful uproar. A young couple has gone missing from the lodge they manage and their handyman/caretaker is found dead. He’s been shot with a high-powered rifle such as one would use for hunting big game. Think rhinos or bull elephants, although it might be illegal to kill elephants now, but then so is killing humans. The entire area is blanketed in a dense fog that precludes any flights in or out which means the state troopers can’t get into Stone Cross to find out what happened to the Meads. So it’s up to Cutter and Lola to navigate the local customs and superstitions to get to the bottom of their disappearance and the murder of their handyman.
Marc Cameron’s powerful opening paragraph of “Stone Cross” hooked me and didn’t let go until the last page. If this doesn’t get your attention you’re already hopelessly lost:
“Sarah Mead pictured her husband’s face on the log she was about to split. She wasn’t the murderous sort, not really, but the spot between his vaporous eyes made the perfect target for her axe.”
Cameron’s descriptive writing has all the necessary elements of sensory detail, figurative and precise language, and dominant impressions. Whether describing Sarah’s now ratty jacket or her frustration with her teenage daughter I knew exactly how she felt in each instance. And he lets Cutter’s droll and occasionally dark humor shine through like a beacon. Cutter is usually so serious, when Cameron occasionally comes through with a zinger like “high-capacity semi-automatic pistols that Cutter thought of as combat Tupperware” I couldn’t help but laugh out loud.
“Stone Cross is the second book in the Arliss Cutter series by Marc Cameron. The action in this tale is fast-paced and non-stop, sometimes gritty and brutal but never gratuitously so. It’s that kind of a story with bad guys that Cutter has made it his mission to stop. Arliss Cutter is a softie at heart, always looking out for the little guy but if you cross him once don’t expect a second chance. Five stars.
#StoneCross #MarcCameron #ArlissCutterSeries #BookTwo #ReadMyLips.home.blog #Instagram.sandragarlandhardy #Goodreads.Savsandy #Twitter.savsandy #Facebook.SandraGarlandHardy #KindleUnlimited.savsandy