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