Book Review: Dangerous Ground by Rachel Grant
I was very much intrigued by the setting of this book, in the remote Aleutian Islands, where Fiona Carver is an archaeologist investigating a potentially unique indigenous site before the US Navy builds a new submarine base. The unforgiving landscape, potentially deadly even in the middle of summer, plays a big part in the story.
I do, however, have two significant issues with the book. First is that, while it is the first part of a series, it ends on a relationship cliffhanger. While I wouldn’t necessarily expect an HEA in the first installment of a romantic suspense series based on a single protagonist, a cliffhanger is just going to annoy readers unnecessarily. Frankly there was way too much will-they won’t-they going on anyway, and considering the explicit dirty talk earlier in the book, the fact the couple didn’t actually do the deed just felt like a bait-and-switch let down.
The second issue I have - and this is a bigger one - is that for a series where Fiona is supposedly the protagonist, this book was about Dean. Dean’s brother, Dean’s problems, Dean’s romantic interest in Fiona. I didn’t count scenes, but it certainly felt like well over half the book was from his point of view. Certainly it was his choices which drove most of the story’s action, relegating Fiona to the role of observer and assistant.
There are things here I really like, such as the respect shown for the indigenous people whose land the action is occurring on. Fiona is a great character, with her no-nonsense attitude and refusal to have specific roles assigned to her just because of her gender. Dean, while he thinks he’s enlightened, falls down here a few times - but that’s the flaw of writing a modern-day playboy, because their lack of respect for women is a fundamental part of their character, and writing one as the hero means you almost always end up falling into the Not Like Other Girls trope with the heroine.
I don’t think this is a bad story, but I think billing it as ‘Fiona Carver Book 1’ does it no favours, and as previously noted, I’m not at all keen on the romance cliffhanger ending. Overall, I’ll give it three stars; I may pick up book 2 if it crosses my radar but probably won’t go out of my way to look for it.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.