Bone Rattle (Arliss Cutter #3), by Marc Cameron

Nine stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Marc Cameron, and Kensington Books for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

Marc Cameron is back with the third in his Arliss Cutter series, a collection of novels that get better with each new addition. Cameron’s background as a former Deputy Marshall serves him well in this piece, where the action is ever-mounting and the reader is pulled into the middle of a sensational story from the opening pages. Arliss Cutter enjoys his work on the Fugitive Task Force, but has no interest in any management position. When he and his team are sent to Juneau to help with a high-profile trial, things go south soon enough. Cutter is pulled into a situation and must find a young woman who is the target of a crooked businessman, all in rural Alaska. It’s a story that will keep the reader flipping pages well into the night. Another winner from Marc Cameron for sure!

Arliss Cutter loves his job as Supervisory Deputy Marshall up in Anchorage, though there are surely times he misses his native Florida. Working hard all day, capturing those who have tried to evade the law, Cutter and his team within Alaska’s Fugitive Task Force do all they can to help balance the scales of justice. There are bumps and scrapes along the way, but it’s all in a day’s work. When he returns home, it’s to help take care of his twin nephews and teenage niece, a handful on their own. Still, he would not have it any other way.

While there are some odd goings-on in Anchorage, Cutter and his partner, Lola Teariki, are sent to Juneau to help in a high-profile trial. The jury is about to be sequestered and the judge is in need of protection, as the defendants are part of a gang that prefer to take justice into their own hands. With the trial being covered by a sharp reporter, everyone is wondering where she’s getting her scoop. Lori Maycomb is not prepared to say much of anything, as she wants to keep her information under wraps and her informant out of the limelight.

When things at the trial go sideways, Cutter knows that he will be put to work hunting rather than simply protecting. There’s more to the story than a simple confidential informant, but a crooked business owner has plans of his own for the local territory and he’s not prepared to let anyone stand in his way. Even when a valuable artifact is found that might impede a money-making transportation venture, it’s no impediment to progress, as long as the right people can be silenced, permanently.

With a young woman in hiding up in the Alaskan hills, Cutter will have to work quickly to get to her, or at least keep those with a mission to scrub her out from arriving first. It’s a race against time and through a series of hurdles, including a mining area. Cutter knows it won’t be easy, but he’s not prepared to simply let a young girl’s life be silenced to pad the pockets of a corrupt individual. Justice must be done, no matter the cost!

I have long had an appreciation for Marc Cameron and his work, which pushes the reader to think outside the box. Not only is the Alaskan setting unique, but the writing delivers something that is not entirely in line with many novels in the genre. It is a different type of gritty, one that leaves the reader wanting to know more. So much is going on in this book, though it never feels overwhelming. This is definitely a series for those who love trillers and quasi-procedurals. While some applaud this as a decent standalone, I cannot think why anyone would not want to grab the previous two books to have the full context of this sensational series and its protagonist.

Arliss Cutter has grown on me over this trio of novels and there is nothing like seeing how his progression has developed. I love a mix of personal and professional growth in a character, something that Cameron offers in spades throughout. Cutter may be a saviour to his family, after the death of his brother, but he is also one who allows his sister-in-law to take on the primary role, while injecting some of his own familial life lessons when they are needed. On a professional front, Cutter works well with his partner, Lola Teariki, but does not force her to conform to what he does at every turn. The richness of the Cutter character develops well throughout this book and in the previous two novels, making him one that many readers can admire, given the time.

Marc Cameron has done well in this piece to really add some standout supporting characters. From those who recur throughout the series to the people who are one-offs to add depth to the story, there are few who do not make an impact. I thoroughly enjoy how Cameron crafts those who appear on each page, honing their personalities to flavour the narrative and enrich the plot where needed. There is something to love or hate with each person the reader encounters and this is precisely what I needed after reading some novels where things are brushed over too swiftly. While not a dense read, the book is by no means superficial and the characters help add some weight to the final product.

This is the second of Marc Cameron’s series that I have read, neither of which have left me feeling disappointed. The writing is strong and there is something that makes me want to keep reading every time I pick up one of his books. The narrative flows well, offering wonderful twists throughout, without tying the reader up in knots. The characters have depth and prove to be intriguing no matter what they have going on in their lives. Cameron teases the reader with shorter chapters at times, as if to coax them into settling down for the longer and more detailed parts of the book, which allow plot development. I enjoyed the banter through dialogue, which added something to the book and helped me imagine things playing out on the screen with ease. I cannot wait to see what’s next with Arliss Cutter, as there were a few threads left loose, which is another of Cameron’s great abilities, as the reader begs to understand what’s to come!

Kudos, Mr. Cameron, on another stellar piece. I cannot get enough of your writing and hope Arliss Cutter will be back soon!

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons

Stone Cross (Arliss Cutter #2), by Marc Cameron

Eight stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Marc Cameron and Kensington Books for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

A great fan of Marc Cameron’s work, I was pleased to read this second novel in the Arliss Cutter series. Set in Alaska, Cameron takes the reader on quite the adventure and uses the setting as an integral part of the thriller. Stationed in Anchorage, Arliss Cutter is a key member of the US Marshal’s Fugitive Apprehension Team, while also trying to care for his widowed sister-in-law and her family. When he is asked to help with security for a federal judge, Cutter is not entirely sure he is well-suited for the job. It would seem that this judge has a hearing in a remote community, but threats have arisen that might cause his time there to be less than peaceful. Even with the judge dismissing the needed for security, Cutter takes his job seriously and agrees to help. When they arrive in the community of Stone Cross, Cutter realises just how remote things are for a city dweller like himself. A predominantly Inuit community, Cutter sees the poverty that pervades the town, but also the tight-knit nature of those who share the area. While trying his best to provide security, Cutter and his team become aware of a missing couple and a few murders that have stirred up trouble. Working both protection and some investigation as best he can, Cutter learns that crime of a serious nature is rampant. With a killer lurking in the dark and cold, Cutter must determine what he can do, or whether the local lore of a ‘Hairy Man’ might hold some truth after all. A great piece by Cameron that takes the reader well out of their comfort zone and to a locale about which few with have experience. Recommended to those readers who enjoy a thriller that uses unique settings, as well as those who love the world of Marc Cameron.

While I became addicted to Marc Cameron’s other series, this one surely has grown on me after two books. Taking the action to rural Alaska had me hooked from the early going and I am looking forward to learning more with additional books. Arliss Cutter is back as a strong protagonist, working as best he can in the somewhat isolation of Alaska, far away from his native Florida. As well as being a stellar US Marshal, Cutter has a military past that he chooses to lock away, much like his idol, a grandfather whose work ethic drives him to be the best he can. Compassionate but slow to show it, Cutter finds ways to keep himself involved in both work and family life, without becoming too ensconced in either. His drive and ability to cut through the erroneous makes for a highly intriguing character that many will enjoy. Others, both returnees and new faces, help to support this book, which surely offers much for the open-minded reader. There is a strong sense of community found in some of the Stone Cross locals, which helps support the plot and ever-advancing narrative throughout. The story was strong and while not entirely unique, the setting makes it a story that will stand out for many. Poverty in remote communities is one thing, but with crime and limited resources, the reader is forced to see how things can be done on a shoe-string budget. Cameron conveys this effectively, while also pulling the reader in for more throughout this impactful piece. I learned a great deal throughout and hope Cameron will work at building this series, which has begun to rival his other work in its intensity.

Kudos, Mr. Cameron, for another winner. I cannot wait to see what else you come up with soon!

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons