Title: Staggered Cove Station (Coast Guard Rescue #1)
Author: Elle Brownlee
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: March 20, 2018
Genre(s): Contemporary, Coast Guard
Page Count: 216
Reviewed by: Kristin
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Rescues are wild in the Alaskan terrain. So is romance.
Sun-kissed California guardsman Dan Farnsworth might be at home in the water, but he’s out of his element at remote, rugged, and freezing Staggered Cove Station. Acclimating proves hard enough, but he’s also digging into how the station’s previous rescue swimmer was lost at sea. Was it an operation gone bad or something more sinister? Add to that the instant tension between him and his partner—no-nonsense Alaska-born Karl Radin—and Dan has his hands full.
As his investigation heats up, so does the attraction between Dan and Karl, even if they don’t completely trust each other. But as suspicious events escalate to sabotage, Dan starts to fear that he and Karl won’t get the chance to become more than reluctant coworkers.
Premise of the book is California boy Dan Farnsworth – “Worth” – has been assigned to the remote Coast Guard Station at Staggered Cove, Alaska. Karl Radin, Alaskan native and nearly permanent fixture at the Station, has been tasked to make sure Dan learns the Alaskan waters. Almost immediately, Karl notices Dan’s furtiveness when not on duty and when the questions start about how the Station’s previous Rescue Swimmer was lost at sea, Karl immediately becomes suspicious. However, the two men can’t deny the growing attraction between them.
I enjoyed this…with some caveats.
What I liked: the setting. I enjoyed the feeling of the isolation and remoteness of the Alaskan coast. An small fishing community, where the general store, the library and the post office are all run by one person, where everyone knows everyone else and when the storms hit, they hit hard. The location was well written.
The mystery worked for the setting and the length of the book – the astute mystery reader will know immediately what transpired and it’s a matter of letting the plot unfold. I didn’t mind knowing the who-done-it.
And we’re talking about Coast Guard Rescue! Something a bit different than the standard military or police book. Neat.
What I didn’t care for:
Dan’s character started out strong, and midway through the book, he seemed to age backward. As in he went from mature, to somewhat immature. We get to hear about his upbringing, we read numerous times how strong a swimmer he is, how he’s capable of standing on his own two feet…then a personality shift happens and Dan is someone who needs coddling and caring for. That just didn’t mesh for me.
I had problems keeping Dan and Karl’s characters straight, which bugged the heck out of me. Perhaps an indication that there wasn’t much to distinguish between the two persona’s. I had an easier time differentiating the rest of the Coast Guard crew than I did trying to keep Dan and Karl straight.
Adding to that was character cues in the dialog – more than once I had to go back and do the: Dan said this, now Karl said that, and Dan would have replied… Frustrating.
Dan and Karl’s attraction to each other. I never really “felt” it. There was the physical attraction, then a need to protect, but for actual feelings beyond that, nope, wasn’t feeling it.
So all in all, an enjoyable read with a couple of issues. As the famous saying goes, We don’t read the same book, so another reader will see and read something completely different.