Sunday, June 18, 2023

The First Death by Kendra Elliot Book Review

About the Book:

For a search and rescue expert, the buried remains of her past are a dangerous obsession in a twisting novel of suspense by a Wall Street Journal and Amazon Charts bestselling author.

Rowan Wolff was five years old when she, her brother, and their babysitter were kidnapped by a serial killer in the Pacific Northwest. The babysitter was murdered. Rowan was saved. Her brother was killed and buried in the forest, his remains never found. The convicted killer refuses to say where he buried the boy. Twenty-five years later, Rowan is committed to search and rescue with her faithful canine and is obsessed with finding her brother’s grave―and closure.

Detective Evan Bolton thrives on unraveling tough cases, but his latest is disturbing. There’s another serial killer hunting in Deschutes County, Oregon, and the crimes are identical to those committed by the sociopath languishing in prison. Each victim is linked to Rowan. When skeletal remains of several bodies are exhumed in the forest, Rowan’s connection becomes more entwined and impossible to ignore.

Rowan and Evan are determined to solve the case before someone else dies. And someone else will, as the truth about the past is unearthed.

My Review:

This is a good novel but heart wrenching. It was not easy to read of the way the kidnapped kids were treated. In that respect, there are many trigger situations, especially for any person traumatized as a child.

The characters were drawn well. I liked Rowan and her dedication to repeated searching for her lost brother. Her dog, Thor, stole the show, however. He seemed to be smarter than the humans. Evan is a good hero as he tries to connect the murders and the kidnapping. The romance part of the novel seemed a little rushed since they had known each other for some time.

The plot is decent but I don't think it quite worked all the way. The reason for the kidnapping seemed strange and the thrill of treating the kidnapped kids the way they were seemed unrealistic. And I really don't understand why a wider search or satellite image search was not done when the skeletons were found. The police should have known the villain's place would not be so far away.

In the end I was entertained. I like the setting of Bend and having been there, I do wish there were more interesting descriptions of the wonderful high desert and nearby mountains.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

This is the second novel in this series I have read. You can read my review of an earlier novel in the series, In The Pines.

About the Author:

Kendra Elliot
 is a 
Wall Street Journal bestseller and is the award-winning author of the Bone Secrets and Callahan & McLane series, the Mercy Kilpatrick novels, and the Columbia River novels. She’s a three-time winner of the Daphne du Maurier Award, an International Thriller Writers Award finalist, and an RT Award finalist. She was born and raised in the rainy Pacific Northwest but now lives in flip-flops. Visit her at

Montlake, 317 pages

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

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