PUBLICATION DATE: JUNE 8, 2011
n his monthly trip to visit a prisoner (the woman who shot him), deputy sheriff Kevin Kimble received a bizarre and unlikely call from the town’s drunk, Wyatt French. Until that call, Kimble had considered him nothing more than an eccentric drunk who lived in a lighthouse on an isolated stretch of woods called Blade Ridge. However, Wyatt’s troubling words cut deeply leaving Kimble uncertain if the call truly was little more than the ramblings of a depressed drunk.
Roy Darmus, who had spent over 40 years as a reporter for the recently closed local newspaper received an equally strange call from Wyatt. As with Kimble, Wyatt’s words were difficult for Roy to hear, but he was pretty certain that Wyatt was considering suicide and decided to pay a late night visit to his lighthouse. When he arrived, Roy discovered a very odd scene. Wyatt had indeed killed himself, but the mystery was on the walls—pictures and maps of people who had died or had accidents on Blade Ridge. Wyatt’s death started a string of odd and disturbing events in that lonely, isolated area where the only occupants left were the 60+ exotic cats that just moved into their new home. With mystery and evil spanning more than a century, The Ridge is exactly what I’ve come to expect from Koryta–a fast-paced thriller with great characters and fantastic suspense.
I was so pleased with the first two books I read by Michael Koryta, I didn’t even bother to see what this one was about before picking it up. However, when I read the opening pages and saw a thank you to the Exotic Feline Rescue Center, I was quite certain I had picked up a winner. Everyone who’s visited a zoo or wildlife preserve with me knows my love of big cats. My poor kids have spent quite a bit of time waiting for me to move on past the tigers, lions, and leopards to see the giraffe, elephants, and zebras. So with a dark mystery with big cats by a proven author in my hands, not a lot of work got done until I’d finished reading it.
The Ridge starts very strong and within a few pages a lot of mystery has been established. There are questions not only about Kevin’s relationship with Jacqueline, but also clear doubts about Wyatt’s part in this story. As the story progresses, the old photos and the people pictured add another dimension and make for a nice layer to an already intriguing mystery.
I love it when authors include history in their stories. Koryta incorporates these elements smoothly, adding a richly rewarding angle to his books. While the main plots are fantastic, I’ve really enjoyed these detours into the past and blending them into fiction.
The Ridge has some great characters—including the cats. It took little time to feel like I knew these people and looked forward to following their stories. Even minor characters were enjoyable and I found that when some departed early, I was sad to see them go. Added to the characters was strong dialog and speech that felt very natural.
As expected, it was very difficult for me to set The Ridge down. It was engaging from the beginning and the mysterious elements were developed smoothly and with ease. I enjoyed virtually every part of this book and am looking forward to Koryta’s next one.
Note for sensitive readers: This is a general market book and does contain mild language, sexual content, and violence. All is within reason for the story being told.