Sunday, October 29, 2017


Dark Signal by Shannon Baker is the second installment in the Kate Fox mystery series, called "A must read" by New York Times bestselling author Alex Kava, starring a female Longmire in the atmospheric Nebraska Sandhills.
Reeling from her recent divorce, Kate Fox has just been sworn in as Grand County, Nebraska Sheriff when tragedy strikes. A railroad accident has left engineer Chad Mills dead, his conductor Bobby Jenkins in shock. Kate soon realizes that the accident was likely murder.
Who would want to kill Chad Mills? Kate finds that he made a few enemies as president of the railroad workers union. Meanwhile his widow is behaving oddly. And why was his neighbor Josh Stevens at the Mills house on the night of the accident? 
While her loud and meddling family conspires to help Kate past her divorce, State Patrol Officer Trey closes in on Josh Stevens as the suspect. Kate doesn’t believe it. She may not have the experience, but she’s lived in the Sandhills her whole life, and knows the land and the people. Something doesn’t add up―and Kate must find the real killer before he can strike again. (synopsis from Amazon)

4.5 Stars

Kate Fox returns in the sequel to Stripped Bare. When last seen Kate was picking herself up in a bold, in your face way. DARK SIGNAL opens with Kate having accomplished her goal and being indoctrinated the hard way with a gruesome death.
Kate insists on investigating, for the most part, her way. Following her instincts and running into the occasional trouble. Being the new kid on the block, there’s some proving to be done. Kate’s knowledge of the residents, again, works in her favor. Things really heat up in the last quarter or so with enough action to satisfy those who like a mix of the plodding procedural and adrenaline-fueled action.
Par for the course family plays a major role in Kate’s life and decisions. Reader’s discover more about family members while the subplot with Kate’s niece continues to intrigue. Big doings are brewing with that situation you can feel it simmering.
In addition to the growth of current characters, interesting characters who could be significant to Kate are introduced.
Once again the Nebraska Sandhills loom large. The area, for me, is as much a character as Kate. It feels forbidding, isolated, and unforgiving. The people who choose to live there are a breed apart. The beauty is mentioned, and there are occasional glimpses/hints, but it’s a stark, cold beauty. These mysteries work for me, in large part, because of the area and the atmosphere it invokes.
DARK SIGNAL’s mystery is solid and grounded in both the location and way of life with numerous clues and red herrings scattered throughout. Readers attuned to nuances will be pleased to be able to figure out most, if not all.
I like where Kate appears to be going and how she’s growing. She has a lot of options before her, and I’m excited to see what choices she makes. Count me in for book 3.

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