Hayley is an endurance runner, she is running for her life, running through a desert suffering from exhaustion, heat exposure and dehydration. When death comes it is ruled suicide, yet Michael Collins from Novo, an independent newsroom, doesn’t accept suicide. Reaching out to Aloa, a one-time lover from a family that fostered him, he contacts her for her professional help. Needing the money to keep the family home from receivership she accepts, however, this will be difficult to manage. There is that bewitching pull, that never left her, towards Michael, even though she is determined to fight against it.
Peggy Townsend creates a wonderful character in Aloa Snow. She is a disgraced journalist, who was destined for the very top but shortcut source validation so she could get the story off her desk and deal with a dying Mother.
“Regret was a wound that bled at the slightest touch and, right now, she couldn’t stand the ache of it.”
Aloa’s vulnerabilities are endearing and she is a recovering anorexic, however, she is not totally fragile as her intellect and resolve are admirable, all attributes that help her as a runner. Peggy Townsend is herself a runner so with that amount of content around running it’s not surprising that an important context within the book deals with that aspect.
I loved the smart detailed dialogue, the pace, and the movement throughout the story was well executed. The imagery of San Francisco was very well depicted and the gradual revealing of the plot was deftly delivered. Her little group of retired learned gentlemen brought an important and useful aspect to the storyline. It’s good to see that all geeks don’t need to be 18-year-old bedraggled computer nerds.
One criticism I have is that this is that several characters are introduced that don’t really contribute to the story. There is also a hidden conflicted romantic attraction bubbling between Aloa and Michael – will they won’t they. I won’t spoil but this but I was disappointed in how far that went in this novel.
I really enjoyed this debut story, loved the characters and will certainly follow this series, although the next book isn’t due until May 2019.