It’s a while since I did Throwback Thursday post and this week I’m revisiting Mortal Fall. This book follows on from The Wild Inside but can be read as a standalone as it has a different main character.
Glacier National Park Police officer Monty Harris, a secondary character in The Wild Inside, takes centre stage in Mortal Fall. He struggles with issues from his childhood and his family history, which has impacted on his marriage, causing a rift. Monty is a complex character who loves his job and is a dedicated officer. There’s a real insight into Monty’s character through his pensive and soul-searching thoughts, showing a man who is not only struggling with his past demons, but also his marriage.
When the body of Paul Sedgewick, aka Wolfie, is discovered down a steep cliff near Going-To-The-Sun road, a popular trail for hikers, the initial thoughts of suicide or accident don’t seem feasible. Wolfie was a seasoned, experienced hiker who was very familiar with the park and it’s dangers. He was also a wildlife biologist studying the wolverines in the area with a view to protecting the species and their habitat, provoking anger amongst residents of the park who didn’t want to lose their right to hunt and develop the land.
I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea that a man with so much experience in the back country could fall this close to the Loop, so near the main and only pass through the park. His team of wolverine researchers had skied all over Glacier Park in the dead of winter, in subzero temperatures and biting wind chill, to set the mini log-cain traps used for baiting them………. Wolfie’s team had trekked across large massifs, scaled monumental crags, rambled up high summits and skied across iced-over lakes tracking the creatures and looking for their dens, hoping to find clues about their behaviour and how strong their population is after decades of being trapped in the Northwest.
The more Monty and his partner, another Park Police officer, Ken Greeley, investigate the less likely suicide or accident seemed, with no evidence to support either scenario. Then another body is discovered in the same area. A coincidence is too much of a stretch for Monty and he believes the two victims were murdered, but he is under pressure from his boss to classify the deaths as accidental. Hikers have been complaining and want to be able to use the trail, which has been closed to the public since the discovery of the first body.
I liked The Wild Inside a lot, and this is a great way to continue a series. Christine Carbo has a wonderful ability to craft and develop multi-layered, flawed personalities, combined with the vivid imagery conjured up by her descriptions of Glacier National Park. Monty is dealing with a lot more than trying to solve two murders, the investigation is more complex than he could ever have imagined and throws up a disturbing connection to his older brother, who he hasn’t seen for four years, and the Glacier Academy for the rehabilitation of troubled teens his brother attended years ago. Monty’s issues are rapidly coming to the fore, making him tense and edgy, and bringing back memories he thought he’d left behind. I like the way the layers are stripped away showing the far reaching effects of living with dysfunctional parents, bullying and damaged relationships. The ending was completely unexpected which is always a bonus. And, as always, an excellent narration by RC Bray.
About the Book
A wildlife biologists shocking death leads to chilling discoveries in Christine Carbos haunting and compelling new crime novel set in the wilds of Glacier National Park.Glacier National Park police officer Monty Harris knows that each summer at least one personbe it a reckless, arrogant climber or a distracted hikerwill meet tragedy in the park. But Paul Wolfie Sedgewicks fatal fall from the sheer cliffs near Going-to-the-Sun Road is incomprehensible. Wolfie was an experienced and highly regarded wildlife biologist who knew all too well the perils that Glaciers treacherous terrain presentsand how to avoid them. The case, so close to home, has frayed park employee emotions. Yet calm and methodical lead investigator Monty senses in his gut that something isnt right.