Review: Don’t Go Back by Amabel Daniels

don't go backTitle: Don’t Go Back

Author: Amabel Daniels

Year of publication: Out today! The author kindly gave me a copy to read and review

The heroine: Arborist Morgan Lane

The hero: Freelance photojournalist Wade Newland

The blurb: Despite the fact she’s a woman in a man’s world, Morgan Lane works hard at Goldsen Park. Wielding a chainsaw and felling trees, she tries to keep up with her bosses’ constantly contradicting orders. Staying busy in the woods keeps her from thinking about Wade Newland, the one man she’d loved who left her without an explanation.

Yet the photojournalist can’t stay away. Wade crashes back into her life—literally—when he carries her tumbling over a ravine to save her from a stranger bearing a weapon in her park. Connected again, albeit out of danger, they attempt to figure out why someone would be toting a gun in the dark.

As they sleuth their way through the tangles of bureaucracy and the many layers of deception within the Goldsen crew, they discover there is more to this incident than what meets the eye. The deeper they dig, they realize no one can be trusted, not even the law. Not only do they have to tiptoe around their still-burning feelings for each other, they need to come to a simple truce. Can they watch each other’s backs and find the answers in the darkest part of the forest?

Standalone or series: Standalone

The review: This is a well-written, well-researched book. Morgan Lane is an arborist working in a state park. She puts her head down and does her job well, licking her wounds after having her heart broken by Wade Newland, a freelance photojournalist with whom she’d spent the previous summer. Wade, while a free spirit, had told her she wasn’t a fling and Morgan believed him… until she woke up one morning and found him gone without explanation.

Morgan’s not interested in the politics of the park; she just wants to do her job. When she stumbles upon an injured woman early one evening, Wade comes crashing back into her life – literally. He saves her from being shot by two mystery men, and from there on in it becomes clear to Morgan and Wade that something underhanded is going on at the park… and they don’t know who to trust, except each other.

This was a story full of twists and turns. I had figured some of it out, but didn’t have the big picture. There was lots of things I liked – Morgan’s job, for one. You very rarely see heroines in such a job, and I loved that it was different. However, this was touted as romantic suspense and I don’t think I would categorise it as such, because the romance was a small part of the plot; halfway into the book, all they’d done was kiss (but they had had a few aborted attempts at sex). It felt more like a thriller with a romantic element. This also wasn’t a book you could read while half asleep, because you had to pay attention to the plot or you’d miss something.

Having said that, it’s clear the author knows a lot about the subject because the detail was very good. I liked both Morgan and Wade, and I’m glad their reunion didn’t drag out for half the book. If you like mysteries, this one’s for you.