Deadman’s Track by Sarah Barrie. (2020).
**4.5 out of 5 stars**
Scarred by a recent tragedy on Federation Peak, Tess is reluctant to guide a group of young hikers in the wild Tasmanian winter. But it seems safer than remaining amid the violence that threatens them in Hobart. Little does she know that the danger has come with them…
Detective Senior Sergeant Jared is closing in on a serial killer, but someone doesn’t want him getting to the truth and the case is becoming personal. He already owes Tess his life, and wants to return the favour – but when it comes to enemies, Jared may be looking in the wrong direction.
This novel follows two previous books featuring the Atherton family, however you can definitely read it as a standalone with no issues (although it’s nice to see the previous characters again if you have read the others). I would classify this one as a romantic suspense, with a heavier emphasis on the suspense elements. When the author describes the wilderness, it truly sounds stunning; you know it’s fantastic writing if it makes you want to actually see the locations described. I loved both Tess and Jared, they were extremely likeable and clearly perfect for each other despite the fact that when we start the book Tess is in a relationship with someone else… On the suspense side of things, events quickly escalate and include both an abusive ex-boyfriend and a violent serial killer; you’ll be hard pressed to choose which of them you dislike more!
Overall: this one is a compelling thriller with a side of romance; I think many readers would really enjoy this novel.