Publication Date: December 6, 2011
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: Paperback, 310pp
(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound
Pamela Beason on the WEB: website, blog, facebook, twitter
Excerpt from Endangered
Book 1 of a new Cozy Mystery Series!
Meet wildlife biologist and writer Summer "Sam" Westin, whose dream of saving the cougars is complicated when a boy vanishes from a campground in Utah...
A child has gone missing, and Sam Westin knows it's her fault. She nudged the boy down a dark path toward a man she presumed was his father. Now there's a media campaign targeting the cougars she helped rehabilitate and release a year ago, blaming them for the boy's disappearance. It's only when FBI Special Agent Chase Perez joins the case that human suspects are considered.
Clues lead Sam and Chase to the high country, where they comb the rocky canyons for evidence of the boy and for the one man who may be a vital witness. But as hours pass, and the media frenzy escalates, Sam fears they won't uncover the truth in time to save both the boy and the big cats...
Cozy mystery lovers and wildlife enthusiasts alike will love the new Summer Westin mystery series by Pamela Beason. Beason's first book in the series, Endangered takes readers to the Utah back country, where big cats abound and a toddler has gone missing. Readers will experience the sensation of being right there with Sam and Chase as they explore the majestic wilderness in search of a missing child and a hope for the survival of the rehabilitated cougars in the area. Beason flexes her descriptive prowess and takes readers on an adventure right along with figuring out whodunit!
This a cozy mystery series that I'm really excited about. I think it takes the cozy sub-genre in a different direction and I hope that we see more cozies that a little bit outside the box. Endangered still follows the general cozy pattern in that it has a female protagonist that is sleuthing on the side, so to speak, as her real job is a wildlife biologist. The writing is clean and doesn't have much language or sex. But that's where the similarities end. There's no small town setting here, just the wide open spaces of a National Park. The main theme isn't a murder, it's a missing child. Some of the characters are animals, literally, and the theme of wildlife preservation is just as important as the mystery itself.
This cozy just took on a totally different atmosphere that I normally expect when reading a mystery. Beason is so descriptive when it comes to the setting and the animals. Readers will feel like they are right there in the middle of the search. They will be able to hear the sound of the wolves howling, feel the brush of the wind against their cheeks and smell the woody aroma of a campfire, just from reading Beason's words. It's remarkable how the setting takes on the characteristics of a character itself. I love it when that happens! Readers who are interested in wild life or even hiking and adventure taking will love this book. It is just an outdoorsmen dream of a mystery.
There are enough twists, turns and unexpected situations to keep the mystery lover satisfied as well. Beason plots a complex mystery that has everything from rogue hunters to pedophiles involved. And Beason's snarky comments about the media were comical and relieved the tension a little bit. The mystery aspect was both emotionally engaging and full of surprises at every turn. I was biting my nails during certain parts wondering how it was going to play out.
The characters were well defined and I think Sam Westin is a heroine that readers will be able to sympathize with. She has a frankness that is refreshing and her great love for animals will resonate with readers from many different backgrounds. FBI agent Chase Perez wasn't hard on the emotions either. He was willing to listen to Sam when nobody else would and he comes across as competent and very involved in his work. I liked his commanding presence and air of authority. Sam complimented him well with her determination to find this child and save her cougars.
This is easily one of the best cozy debuts of the year! Beason is finding a new niche for her work in the cozy world and I hope to see a lot more of it. I recommend this to all my cozy readers and especially to those who have interests in wild life and back country adventures. This is definitely a series to watch and the sneak peek at the second book in the series was just enough to whet my appetite. I loved this one and I have a feeling you will too!
Endangered is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
Pamela Beason worked as a private investigator and is the award-winning author of multiple non-fiction, how-to books as well as mysteries and romances. She lives and writes in the Pacific Northwest and explores the wilderness everywhere.
The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Endangered by Pamela Beason.
~ You must be a GFC or E-mail follower.
~ US Addresses only! (Publisher Request)
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST December 28th.
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