A Dark Lure // by Loreth Anne White

//published 2015//

This is a Kindle book that I picked up for a dollar a while back and finally got around to reading.  In the end, it was good for a one-time read and probably not a total waste of a dollar, but it’s not one that I see myself coming back to.

Several years ago, Sarah was kidnapped and tortured by a sadistic killer who had already performed this same scenario multiple times before – kidnapping a woman just before the first big snowfall of the year, keeping her locked up for the winter where he can torture her, and then turning her loose in the spring for a ‘hunt’… except Sarah escapes.

Now she is living on a ranch under a new identity (Olivia).  The murderer was captured, convicted, and imprisoned, and then died in jail three years ago.  Yet Olivia has troubled breaking free from her past.  She has found a semblance of healing and solace on this western Canadian ranch, but the owner is dying of cancer and Olivia’s future is uncertain.

Meanwhile, as the reader, we learn that the killer is actually still alive, and he is determined to find Olivia.  A cop who worked the case is convinced that the killer is still out there and that they jailed the wrong man.  When he and the killer ‘meet’ online – each pretending to be someone else – they are both working to lure the other out.  The cop gives away Olivia’s location, and the hunt is on.

For me, this story just had a lot of sloppy plot points.  The biggest one is the fact that this cop gives away Olivia’s location and then waits like two or three days before heading off to the ranch himself!  This seemed completely ridiculous to me!  He’s convinced that this horrific killer is out to get Olivia, but doesn’t bother to head off to protect her himself, to tell anyone what he is doing, or to even give Olivia a heads up when he finally does get around to meandering out to the ranch.  This frustrated me to no end and made the whole story feel contrived.

Meanwhile, I spent basically the entire book wondering how in the HECK you could convict the wrong man when you have AN EYEWITNESS who was his captive for months!?  It’s eventually explained, but I think the author was trying to make it this big twist, when in fact it would been significantly less aggravating to have that explained early on, and then let it be a twist for the characters, since I already know, for a fact, thanks to the author, that the murderer is on the loose!  So instead of the identity mix-up being this big reveal, it really came across for me as more of a FINALLY moment, because it made NO SENSE that everyone could be convinced that the true killer had been convicted.

It felt like there was a lot of cancer in this book, like the author needed to have people motivated by impending death, so she just handed out cancer all around. It would have been nice if she could  have figured out some different motivating factors.

Finally, there is a lot of side drama regarding the future of the ranch, and it’s never really satisfactorily resolved.  Like… okay… sort of… except the other person with interests in the ranch has already said they are going to spare no expense to contest the will, etc.  I didn’t really need like a whole big thing about it, but an epilogue would have been nice in this case, just to kind of wrap up the side story.  Instead, the whole book ended rather abruptly, and even though the killer situation was taken care of, I wasn’t feeling particularly confident about Olivia’s overall future.

In the end, this was a sort of meh 3/5.  It wasn’t a terrible read, and it kept me fairly engaged while I was reading it, but there were too many annoying factors for me to really enjoy it, or to consider reading it again.

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