CROSSHAIRS: Natchez Trace
Park Rangers, #3
Date of Publication: November 2, 2021
Number of Pages: 384 pages
When evil just won’t quit, good must prevail.
Investigative Services Branch ranger Ainsley Beaumont wishes the visit to her hometown of Natchez, Mississippi, was under better circumstances. When she arrived to investigate the murder of a pregnant teenager, she never imagined that she would become the killer’s next target–or that she’d have to work alongside an old flame.
After he almost killed a child, former FBI sniper Lincoln Steele couldn’t bring himself to fire a gun, which had deadly consequences for his best friend. Crushed beneath a load of guilt, Linc is working at Melrose Estate as an interpretive ranger. But as danger closes in on Ainsley during her murder investigation, Linc will have to find the courage to protect her.
The only question is, will it be too little, too late?
Clueless Gent’s Rating for Crosshairs
Crosshairs is packed with action, a little bit of love, and a pinch of Christianity.
This third book in the Natchez Trace Park Rangers Series from Patricia Bradley follows Ainsley Beaumont, a special agent of the Investigative Services Branch of the National Park Service. Although she grew up in the Natchez area and still has family there, she’s actually in town investigating the death of a high school-aged girl in the Natchez Trace Park.
The cast of characters is quite diverse. It includes Lincoln “Linc” Steele, a former FBI sniper and Ainsley’s former love interest. Ainsley’s family includes her dad, currently running for governor in an upcoming primary, her grandmother, and her great aunt (grandmother’s sister) who lives across the street. There’s also a murderer who just escaped from prison and wants revenge against Ainsley for helping to convict him. And then there’s a blonde news reporter who always seems to show up with her videographer at the worst possible time.
There are several main plots. In addition to the case that brought Ainsley back to Natchez, there is a series of handwritten diaries from the mid-nineteenth century that could clear the name of a long lost relative, but the diaries have disappeared.
Bradley stitches the several plots together seamlessly. It’s clear that each plot will have its own climax. What amazed me was how nicely the author paced the story so that none of the plots got cold, and yet it seemed that they would reach their climax at about the same time.
“You destroyed my trust, and once trust is lost, it’s hard to get back.”
Speaking of pacing, there’s something else I want to mention. I’m not sure if this was intentional, but as I was reading the story, whenever I came to a spot where I thought I would put it down, there was some action, or something was revealed in dialogue, that enticed me to keep reading – and I did. Does Patricia Bradley really know her readers that well?
There are some great reveals in this story. Actually, almost every plot has its own reveal, and some of them were very surprising to me.
The book is quite well edited. Bradley makes wonderful use of dialogue and action to move the story along. I can’t recall a single moment when the pace of the story stagnates.
If you’ve never read anything by Patricia Bradley before, this would be a good book to start with. Even though part of a series, the story completely stands on its own. I can’t imagine anyone not enjoying it!
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