Reviews for Ransom River

Booklist Reviews 2012 May #1
Think your relatives are odd? They're nothing compared to the criminal kin of Rory Mackenzie, the smart, troubled protagonist of Edgar-winner Gardiner's new stand-alone thriller. As the novel opens, a jury summons for a high-profile murder case brings Rory back to the small Southern California town she left years before, vowing never to return. Days into the trial, a bloody attack on the courthouse takes the focus off the case, and Rory begins to suspect a connection between the tragic incident and chilling happenings from her childhood. (Why did her uncle Lee drop out of sight, leaving his wife and children behind?) Further igniting Rory's already emotional state is the reappearance of undercover cop and former lover Seth Colder, who helps her shed light on dark truths about her family. In Gardiner's world, the bad guys are really bad, and even the best of them have a skeleton or two. Crisp writing and a breathless plot make this a must-read for both newcomers and fans of the author's Jo Beckett and Evan Delaney series. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 June #1
Gardiner shelves hard-used series heroine Jo Beckett (The Nightmare Thief, 2011, etc.) in order to put even more wear and tear on an employed, overcommitted California lawyer. Talk about your bad weeks. First Aurora Mackenzie's foreign aid agency redefines itself away from her job. Upon her arrival back home in Ransom River, she's instantly tapped for jury duty in the prosecution of Officer Jared Smith and Officer Lucy Elmendorf for shooting high school student Brad Mirkovic when he interrupted their tryst. Then a pair of masked gunmen break into the courtroom, shoot the judge and announce their intention of taking hostages, whose number of course includes Rory. A SWAT team ends the standoff, but Rory's nightmare is just beginning, for Detectives Mindy Xavier and Gary Zelinski are convinced that she was in cahoots with the gunmen. Now the cops are watching her every move, waiting for the chance to arrest her for felony murder; the thuggish minions of Brad's father, shady millionaire Grigor Mirkovic, are demanding that she tell them what really went down in the courtroom; and her manipulative cousin Nerissa and Riss' bullying stepbrother Boone, who've made Rory's life hell ever since the invention of flashbacks, have popped up once more to torment her. Can Rory's old flame Seth Colder, a former undercover cop now living in L.A., help her dodge the threats to herself and her dog (just as the dog she had in high school was also menaced) and follow the trail to the $25 million cache that's behind the mayhem? It's hard to remember a time when a damsel was quite so distressed by so many different heavies. The tension, though synthetic, is so unrelenting that you'll cheer when Rory finally walks away from it all. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Library Journal Reviews 2012 February #1

Her career and her love life having dead-ended, Rory Mackenzie reluctantly returns to her hometown of Ransom River, CA. Now a juror on a big-time murder case, she starts recalling disturbing childhood memories about another case, still unsolved, and that could be her undoing. Attention, fans: Gardiner is refreshing herself (and us?) by departing from her Evan Delaney series.

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Library Journal Reviews 2012 June #1

Broke and tired of running from her past, Rory Mackenzie returns to her hometown of Ransom River, CA, and immediately lands in a waking nightmare when the courtroom in which she is serving as juror on a murder trial is attacked by terrorists. Rory senses that the attackers, with their outlandish demands and frenetic behavior, are not typical terrorists and that something else is amiss, something related to the past she inadvertently buried many years ago. With the help of her childhood friend (and ex-boyfriend), former cop Seth Colder, Rory races to uncover the mystery, confronting her own history in the process. VERDICT Edgar Award winner Gardiner (China Lake) delivers another smashing hit.Like her Jo Beckett books (The Nightmare Thief), this stand-alone serves up surprising plot twists and leaves room at the end for a possible sequel. Fans of the crime thriller genre will appreciate the well-drawn characters who plumb the depths of humanity and will connect with the especially strong female lead who perseveres to get back up more times than she falls.--Natasha Grant, New York

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 April #2

Near the start of this solid stand-alone thriller from Edgar-winner Gardiner (The Nightmare Thief), Aurora "Rory" Mackenzie, an attorney who was working for Asylum Action, which monitored "refugees seeking political asylum" until it lost its funding, returns home to Ransom River, Calif., in answer to a jury summons. As a juror, Rory gets thrust into a hostage situation when two armed gunmen storm the courtroom where the trial of two cops accused of shooting a burglar is taking place. Even though a SWAT team comes to the rescue with minimal bloodshed, the police single out Rory as a potential accomplice because of undue attention one gunman paid to her. When ex-undercover cop Seth Colder, her childhood love, warns her of dirty cops in the Ransom River PD, it's clear the problem is bigger than Rory. Sparks still fly between the pair as they try to piece together the motive behind the courtroom siege. Like all of Gardiner's heroines, Rory is tough when it counts but never implausibly so. Agents: Deborah Schneider and Sheila Crowley, Gelfman Schneider Literary Agents. (June)

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