Today, as a part of the Rock Harbor Search & Rescue tour, I have for you my review of the book.
Rock Harbor Search and Rescue
by Colleen Coble and Robin Caroll
3 Stars: A Good Read
Series: Rock Harber Search and Rescue #1
Paperback: 256 Pages
Publication: April 9, 2013 by Thomas Nelson
Emily O'Reilly is obsessed with all things Search and Rescue. She volunteers with the team and goes on rescue missions with her stepmom. She is even selling homemade jewelry to save up for her own Search and Rescue puppy. But when an expensive necklace is stolen from a renowned jewelry artist at Rock Harbor's fall festival and Emily is accused of the crime, it looks like she'll never get her puppy and be able to join the Rock Harbor Search and Rescue team.
Emily isn't willing to give up on her Search and Rescue dreams that easily, and she sets out to find the real culprit and to restore her reputation. With a few suspects in mind, Emily is determined to uncover the truth, but she isn't prepared for the secrets she and the Search and Rescue dogs sniff out in the process.
I love big furry creatures, and dogs rank high up on the list of my favorite animals. It was an absolute joy to read about Search & Rescue and to see Emily's passion for the job. The story opens in the midst of a search, allowing us to get to know key people in Emily's life and how much she values the job. I love how Emily is a strong character in that she stands up for herself without going so far as to get into trouble that she can't handle despite her insistence on clearing her own name. At the same time, her youth and vulnerabilities also come out in moments of weakness, such as when the topic of her mother comes up and with her fear of the Windigo.
Add to that the strong support from those around her. Emily's younger brother Timmy and best friend Olivia are always there to cheer her up and help her out. I also love Bree and Emily's step-mother Naomi. In time, I grew to like her father as well, though I can't forgive him for being so quick to suspect Emily of stealing Mary Dancer's necklace initially. I don't want to believe that a parent can put down his or her own child like that, but he does. And she still loves him.
I do feel as though the relationships in the novel could be straightened out more, especially early on in the novel. We never do find out why Emily's father is so suspicious of her initially when she is accused of stealing the necklace, and Josh is never more than that boy Emily is interested in. I also never really felt a sense of urgency about Emily's biological mother. Though Emily fears her mother, we don't find out until late in the book why she is. I also wonder what role Greg plays in the novel and why he bothers to make an appearance in the novel when he was never brought up before and he doesn't play much of a role in the story.
The emotions could come off a bit clearer as well. It falls flat at times, which is especially noticeable because there are times when Emily's emotions really come off the page, like when she feels betrayed by her father and when she remembers the time she went to the beach with her mother.
On the whole, this was a solid read with strong dialogue and an amazing cast of characters. The novel does get a little too much on the religious side for me in the second half with the subject of God coming up more frequently; it isn't over the top, but there were too many similar references, especially in such a short novel. The ending is a bit anticlimactic. After all the searching for the true thief, Emily stumbles upon the truth by chance, and everything wraps up pretty nicely afterwards. I would have liked to see more suspense and action surrounding the mystery. At the same time, the ending is believable. Not every mystery has a big bad guy waiting at the end.
An ARC was provided by Thomas Nelson for review.
Carol Award winner Colleen Coble lives with her husband, Dave, in Indiana. She is the author of dozens of novels including the Rock Harbor Series, the Aloha Reef Series, the Mercy Falls Series, the Hope Beach Series, the Lonestar Series and two Women of Faith fiction selections, Alaska Twilight and Midnight Sea. She has more than 2 million books in print.
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Born and raised in Louisiana, Robin Caroll is a southerner through and through. Her passion has always been to tell stories to entertain others. She gives back to the writing community by serving as Conference Director for ACFW. Her books have finaled/placed in such contests as Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice, Bookseller's Best, and Book of the Year. To learn more about this author of deep South mysteries of suspense to inspire your heart.
As a part of the tour, there is a giveaway of...
3 print copies of Rock Harbor (US only)
3 print copies of Rock Harbor (US only)
2 e-books of Rock Harbor (INT)
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