Gone Too Deep by Katie Ruggle #Review

Gone Too Deep by Katie Ruggle #ReviewGone Too Deep by Katie Ruggle

Series: #3 Search and Rescue
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on August 2, 2016
Pages: 448
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
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four-half-stars      three-flames

We have arrived at book three in the Search & Rescue series.  And it didn’t come soon enough after that startling cliffie in the last book (and it happened again in this one.  I’m sensing a pattern, LOL).

With each book the ongoing murder suspense and arson plot ratchets up with each new clue found and reveal.  There are some obvious suspects and those who hold the answers are either dying or on the run.  Each book has focused on a different facet of the Search and Rescue group (ice rescue, fire rescue, and now wilderness rescue) which makes for a fascinating backdrop and a nice change-up to look forward to in each book.  I’ve enjoyed getting to know the quirky inhabitants of Simpson, Colorado and, particularly, the group of men and women who make up the SAR team.  George Holloway, a tracker and survival expert, was introduced in the last book and I was all sorts of curious to get to know this silent (and by silent I mean nearly mute) giant of a man and the woman who would be his romance interest.

This is indeed a series that must be read in order as each book builds on the last particularly when it comes to the suspense aspect even though there is a different romance pairing for each new installment.

The story opens with Ellie Price far away in Chicago getting a call from her mentally ill father about dangerous people after him and trying to kill him because he knows something and that he’s headed to her grandfather’s cabin to hide.  He just wanted to talk to her and take comfort before he goes on the run for his life.  Ellie is not particularly worried about his claims of being hunted after all this sort of paranoia has been part of his illness all along.  It was the reason at age eleven her mom stopped letting her go for visits to see her dad when he had an episode and it turned into a hostage situation when he barricaded him and her in her grandfather’s cabin and the police surrounded them.  No, that didn’t worry her, it was the idea that he was headed off into the mountain wilderness alone while it was barely spring.

Ellie settled things with her boss and friend before going to Simpson, CO to find her dad and bring him back safely.  Ellie was so focused on her dad that she minimized the actual rescue part until she got to the mountain town and saw what she was up against.  There are no roads that go anywhere near the cabin and it’s a three-day hike through snow and cold, the environment, possible avalanche, and more to get there.  She can’t go alone.  Her early encounter with Lou and Callum lead her to approaching the silent intimidating giant on the Search & Rescue team to guide her in.  George Holloway may be intimidating, but his co-worker on the team who freely offers to help her is just plain creepy.  He looks like he’s going to say no until she is accosted by the sleazy Joseph.

George agrees and begins the trek that will take city girl into the wilds.  Ellie realizes quickly enough that her life is in George’s capable hands and she has to somehow dig deep and keep going as the hike through the snow, encounters with wild animals, weather, and a dangerous pair of criminals makes for an intense hike.  Slowly, she gets comfortable with George and startles herself when she finds him deeply attractive even if he says little.  And George seems to relax around her, too.  He is patient and caring and he slowly opens up to speak a few words here and there.

But getting to her dad is only half the battle.  The killers on their tail can’t be driven off and they plan to take care of all the pesky witnesses, but then her dad confirms that this pair are being led by someone else far more dangerous before he is gone again.  George and Ellie have grown close and want to be together, but someone else worries what her dad knows and a vengeful rogue killer is still out there.

Oh yes, this one didn’t skimp on the action and excitement.  I was tickled that things are starting to come to a head with the suspense plot.  It didn’t wrap up in this book, but it definitely advanced things so that I’m pretty sure the next book will have the big reveal with all the whys and wherefores.  And ugh, this one ended on a cliffie that will have me more than ready for the next release.

But backing up to the immediate story.  George and Ellie are quite the pair.  This goes beyond opposites attract.  George is a survival expert who lives simply in the cabin he shared with his dad without a phone, a TV, or many things most people think they can’t live without.  He works with metal and some seasonal jobs like plowing the streets and also volunteers as a tracker and survival expert for the SAR team, but he keeps to himself ignoring people and never speaking.  Then there is Ellie- colorful, perky, city girl Ellie who falls on her butt the first time she gets out of her little economy car that threatens to get stuck in the snow at any moment.  No coat and no winter shoes.  No idea about camping let alone a winter trek in the wilderness.  Her dad has no one else to go looking, but no matter about his delusions, she loves him and has his back.  She needs George and actually, in his own way, George needs her, too.

I enjoyed the time of George and Ellie out in the wilderness.  The details of their hike and living rough were engaging and interesting without tipping into tedious.  There is humor and danger mixed in and also the slow developing relationship.  It was so sweet to learn that Ellie gave George his first kiss and this big strong guy was a virgin though there was definitely some passion smoldering under the surface that Ellie helped find release.

My only niggle and it’s minor, is that I felt the backstory on both characters was hurting.  Knowing them in the here and now and how they grew as people and grew together is solid, but their pasts are only sketched in at best.  Why was George the way he was?  I was curious.

All in all, this was another solid installment in the series for me.  I just peeked ahead and saw the next book is Chris and Daisy’s book.  Yeah, I’ve liked Chris all the way through.  Those who enjoy romantic suspense and want a unique setting like a Search and Rescue team in a small mountain town should definitely give these a go.

My thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Challenges Met:

Romance Roundabout #255 RS

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.
  • Debbie Haupt

    so right away I look and see #3, ugh but you know what this looks incredible. Thanks Sophia Rose btw didn’t I just see you on another blog LOL

    • Don’t be intimidated by the #3, Debbie. This series finishes with the fourth book so it won’t get scary long. Well worth it start these.

      Oh yes you did. 🙂

  • I can’t wait to catch up on this series. Great review!

    • For sure, Lekeisha! I look forward to your thoughts on these. One more and then it’s complete with four.

  • I’m itching to read the next book, so I need to scramble to read the first three. I see a Labor Day reading binge in my near future.

    • Haha! These would make good binge reading since all the couples are so different and their S&R expertise is, too. The mystery thread ending on a cliffie with each ending won’t be as annoying with the next book handy.

  • I do enjoy romantic suspense, Sophia, but I’m not really a big fan of cliff hangers. Nor of weak character development (and that really does include their pasts). Still, Gone Too Deep sounds like my kind of story 🙂 Great review!
    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    • Yes, I normally feel that way about the development and cliffies, too. The cliff hangers are small ones that are the type that give you this big step forward in the murder mystery right at the last scene, but the rest of the story with the main couple is fully completed.

      With all that is going on in these, I didn’t miss the character dev. as much as in a slow moving story.

  • Sounds like another good book in this series. With each review you make me more curious about these! It sounds neat how each focuses on a different facet of the search and rescue team. I think one of the Jill Shalvis books had a hero in a S&R team or something similar, it was quite interesting to read about. Seem it would’ve been nice to get a bit more of their backstory, but at least you got to know them in the here and now and there was enough character development. Too bad about the cliffhanger ending, I hope you can get the next book soon.

    • Yes, the S&R element is interesting. I enjoyed that these went beyond police and fire though those are there, too. The ice rescue in book one and the wilderness survival in this one were the ones that really gave me new settings.
      I do wish there was more from the character’s pasts, but it wasn’t completely missing so I had enough to get to know them.
      The cliffhangers aren’t the big severe ones that leave you shellshocked just a big clue toward the mystery that is ongoing. Fortunately, I have book four, the last one. 🙂

  • Ahh I do like a good backstory for my characters. These do sound great though. I still kick myself for not taking them on for review when they started. One day I’ll have to dive in 😀

    • Yeah, it was a smaller niggle just curiosity stuff on my part.

      Oh hey, book one is up for free at Amazon if you want to snag it along with the prequel that is always free.