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