Book Review: Swamp Ghosts by Marcia Meara

Marcia Meara, author of the popular Wake-Robin Ridge books, sets her second series in the sleepy little town of Riverbend, Florida, where the hungry creatures swimming in the dark waters of the St. Johns River aren’t nearly as dangerous as those walking along the quiet neighborhood streets.

Swamp GhostsWildlife photographer Gunnar Wolfe looked like the kind of guy every man wanted to be and every woman just plain wanted, and the St. Johns River of central Florida drew him like a magnet. EcoTour boat owner Maggie Devlin knew all the river’s secrets, including the deadliest ones found in the swamps. But neither Maggie nor Gunn was prepared for the danger that would come after them on two legs.

On a quest to make history photographing the rarest birds of them all, Gunnar hires the fiery, no-nonsense Maggie to canoe him into the most remote wetland areas in the state. He was unprepared for how much he would enjoy both the trips and Maggie’s company. He soon realizes he wants more than she’s able to give, but before he can win her over, they make a grisly discovery that changes everything and turns the quiet little town of Riverbend upside down. A serial killer is on the prowl among them.


My Review:

5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Start to a Series

I used to read Anne Rivers Siddons books because I loved her descriptions of the Carolinas. More recently, I became interested in the works of author P. C. Zick because she also has a knack for describing nature’s beauty—in her case, Florida. I was delighted to find yet another author to take a stab at such vibrant scenery, and I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest. Marcia Meara’s novel, SWAMP GHOSTS: Riverbend Book 1, is a portrait of the beauty of the Florida wild.

It doesn’t hurt that her characters are three-dimensional, her pacing is thrilling, and her plot completely engrossing.

SWAMP GHOSTS introduces us to Maggie, a tough lady who has shut herself off from love because of a painful past. Watching her heart thaw under the ever-present attention of her “Viking” client was a true joy. These two characters are perfectly suited for each other—one’s temper complements the other’s calm; one’s stubbornness is a foil for the other’s determination. The cast of supporting characters is equally interesting and compelling. The descriptions of these people are only paralleled by the descriptions of nature itself. I felt the humidity; I smelled the brackish swamp; I heard the buzzing of insects and the lapping of water on the shore.

I prefer character-driven fiction, and this story truly moved along due to the carefully-crafted characters in the book. But on top of that was a fascinating mystery, the clues to which are revealed at just the proper pace to keep readers guessing. Just when you think you know what’s going on, you don’t. When all is revealed, it’s a satisfying revelation. And then the mind games and action kick up another notch!

I very much enjoyed the resolution of this novel, and the information in the afterward about Florida wildlife was truly the cherry on top of a delicious novel-cake. I’m looking forward to the next book and recommend this one without reservation.

Book 1: Swamp Ghosts | Book 2: Finding Hunter | Book 3: That Darkest Place

If you are interested in more information, visit Marcia Meara’s website for purchase, newsletter, and social media links.


Published by Staci Troilo

A writer fascinated with interpersonal relationships, the importance of family, and the relevance of heritage. Learn more at

21 thoughts on “Book Review: Swamp Ghosts by Marcia Meara

    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment, Jessica. If you get a chance to read this series (this is Book 3), I hope you’ll enjoy it. The characters in the town of Riverbend are all manner of quirky, eccentric, and funny to be around. (I know this, because they live in my head, and entertain me all day long! 😀 ) If you do find time to read them, hope you’ll let me know what you think. Have a great Wodin’s Day! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  1. I really enjoyed this book as well, especially the colorful setting and the characters who populate it. The rest of the series is on my Kindle and my TBR. Nice to know Marcia is working on still more!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Mae! I haven’t forgotten what a great review you left me, too. I hope you’ll enjoy the other books when you are able to get to them. I’m almost to your latest in my TBR pile, myself. 🙂 And yep. I plan to keep on writing until I fall face down on the keyboard, which I hope won’t happen for a few more years, anyway. I’ve got two series to wrap up first, and a stand-alone story I’m working on even as I type. (And don’t think that isn’t a mean trick!) 😀

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Nice review, Staci! I know what you mean about reading books because of an author’s setting description. I read a series of books in a genre not typically a fav just because of the author’s description of SC low country. Best wishes to Marcia on her book!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much. This is Book 1 of a series with 3 books out, so far, and it was so much fun to do, simply because the rivers and wildlife of central Florida are something I know well and dearly love. I had a great time describing the dark waters of the river and my favorite critters that live in that habitat. Of course, the serial killer took center stage eventually, because you have to have more to the tale than alligators and cypress trees, no matter how mysterious a setting they make. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Reblogged this on The Write Stuff and commented:

    Wow, what a great review from Staci Troilo. I started my next Riverbend story yesterday, and Staci’s words have inspired me to work harder than ever. Hope you’ll check this out, and pass it along! THANKS!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a great review, Staci! And such a happy surprise to see this post today! I just started a new Riverbend tale yesterday, and your very kind words have inspired me to work harder than ever to get it finished and out this fall. I’m so glad you enjoyed Swamp Ghosts, and should any of your followers be interested in my second blog, The Write Stuff, it’s geared to writers helping writers. Would love to “meet” them there. ( ) We do our best to support each other, share resources, and spread the word about promos, etc.

    Thank you again for reviewing Swamp Ghosts, and for sharing your thoughts here today. The people in Riverbend have become “family” to me, and I’m glad you enjoyed meeting them.

    Have a wonderful Tewe’s Day! 😀

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I did indeed enjoy the novel, Marcia, and I’m thrilled you’ve started another installment. Can’t wait to read it.

      Happy to share my thoughts with others. It’s nice to be able to point readers to good work by good people.

      Liked by 3 people

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