A while ago, I read and reviewed Aaron Stander's "Color Tour" (CT), which was my first encounter with Sherrif Ray Elkins and the area of woods and lakes in Michigan.
"Deer Season" (DS) picks up some months after the end of CT, but can be read as a stand-alone mystery.
Since I really liked the characters and the writing style of the
previous book in the series, I was very much looking forward to reading
more of the same.
I was not disappointed.
Ray Elkins is still the kind of credible, down-to-earth likeable person
he comes across as in CT. Everything he does and says (or thinks) in DS
ties in with what the reader has learnt about him in CT; he is a
well-rounded character, neither flat and two-dimensional nor larger than
Several of the cast of CT reappear, and it is a bit like greeting old acquaintances.
The story takes place over a short period of time (around Thanksgiving),
and all outdoor scenes are full of snow and ice, wind and dwindling
daylight, as it would be that time of year in this particular region.
While Ray is still recovering - physically and emotionally - from the
effects of what happened in CT, he has to handle a new murder
A TV presenter, mother of two little girls and married to a man in Ray's department, is shot in front of her house.
Collecting evidence seems nearly impossible in the averse weather
conditions, made even more difficult by a snow plough having gone over
the scene soon afterwards.
But although the connections between family members, colleagues and
others are more complex than what at first appears, Ray manages to
unravel the mystery with the help of his trusted assistant.
Some of his friends outside work also contribute with important
information, and the drama culminates in a shoot-out on a snow-covered,
wind-whipped island in the lake.
Although there are some very dramatic happenings in this book, somehow
Aaron Standers has managed to convey the quiet atmosphere of snowy woods
and deserted summer houses by the lake, with only the occasional gunshot
from a deer hunter and the distant motor of a snow mobile breaking the silence.
Much of CT's appeal for me was in the description of the seemingly
mundane, the everyday things such as choosing a particular cheese at the
food store for a lone evening meal at home.
This was once again the case in DS, and there are enough loose ends in
the sherriff's personal life to make the reader think about how certain
story lines could play out in the next book.
Which I hope I will get to read sooner rather than later.