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'Voodoo Ridge' by David Freed

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The Permanent Press

Voodoo Ridge by David Freed

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What do I do when I see a thriller/mystery novel with a title like “Voodoo Ridge?” I immediately decide that I have to read it, of course. That’s how I got drawn into “Voodoo Ridge” by David Freed on the strength of the title and nothing else but hoping for an entertaining read.

Cordell Logan and his ex-wife are having a child together and have found that this changes everything, including their relationship. They decide to reconcile and become a family and travel to Lake Tahoe to be remarried. Logan, who is a pilot and owns his own small plane, sees signs of a wrecked plane as they approach Tahoe and immediately informs the authorities. He has no idea just how much trouble that glimpse of wreckage is going to bring into his life.

Logan finds himself entangled in a new murder that is wrapped in layers of mystery that go back over a half decade. He at first does not think that the mystery will have too much to do with him but then his ex-wife is kidnapped and he is forced to take action for the kidnapper in order to keep her alive. He knows that he is in too deep to turn back now. He finds himself racing against time to solve the mystery and save his life as well as everything that he holds dear.

“Voodoo Ridge” is a combination of thriller and mystery that kept me turning the page and cheering for Logan as he struggled against what seemed to be the world conspiring against him. This is the third book staring Logan and I did feel like I was missing a bit of backstory at times but not so much that it kept me from getting into this novel. I am not saying that this is the perfect thriller but it was entertaining enough and a good way to spend a couple hours. Freed handles the pacing of the novel well so that it does not become bogged down and the story rolled smoothly along. Even in the chapters in which the novel was more of a mystery than a thriller, when Logan worked to unravel the threads of the mystery, Freed keeps the story flowing smoothly and does not have to rely on nonstop action to keep the reader’s interest. This gave the novel a bit more substance than I find in a lot of thrillers that do little more than move the characters from one fight to another. Freed understands how to tell and story and build the action around that story.

The novel’s one downfall is that the characters in the novel just do not seem to be real people. They almost seem to be set up as the good, which is essentially Logan and his ex-wife, versus the bad. Everyone seems to have a hidden agenda that is working against Logan. Part of this may be due to the fact that the story is filtered through Logan and he is trying to solve the mystery but that would only be a partial explanation. While the story is well developed and laid out, the characters just came across a little too flat and stereotypical for me to truly care for them or their fate and become completely invested in the story. This is a good mystery/thriller and a nice way to pass a couple entertaining hours, but I finished feeling like the story could have been so much more.

I would like to thank NetGalley and The Permanent Press for this review copy. “Voodoo Ridge” is available now.