Nick Petrie Series

Claire Kells Books In Order

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Publication Order of National Parks Mystery Books

Vanishing Edge (2021)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
An Unforgiving Place (2022)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Girl Underwater (2015)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Claire Kells is an American mystery author, physician, and passionate open-water swimmer. She loves the outdoors even though she’s terrified of walking alone in the woods at night. Her books are filled with likable and flawed characters, twists and turns, and romantic tension. She is a Virginia resident.

Her first book in the National Parks Mystery series, Vanishing Edge, is set in Sequoia National Park and brings crime and suspense to a beautifully written crime thriller. We are introduced to Felicity Harland, an ex-FBI agent who quit and left the agency after a personal and major injury ended her career. She now works as a special agent for the Investigative Services Bureau, an investigative department of the National Park Service.

Felicity received a call that her skills are needed at Sequoia National Park. It’s reported that two campers have vanished in thin air, and the luxury camping resort that had the campsite setup isn’t willing to reveal its client. It’s apparent that the campsite is abandoned, and according to the evidence gathered by the new park ranger Ferdinand, there are no signs of struggle. What happened to the campers? Were they lost deep in the jungle, injured, or did something terrible happen to them?

Vanishing Edge is a character-driven story with plenty of drama and intrigue. Harland and Ferdinand are great investigative detective partners. Harland is determined to prove to herself and her superior that her life-changing injury won’t interfere with her work and that she is up to long climbs and hikes to investigate accidents and crimes in the national parks.

Claire Kells presents Harland’s interpersonal struggle well, such they feel real to the readers. Harland’s pet dog Ollie adds another dimension to the story. Ferdinand is an ex-Navy SEAL and feels like the junior ranger role isn’t quite fit for him and is thus excited when Harland requests his help in the investigation. He is well known for his ability to find missing people. Will he and Harland be successful in finding the missing campers?

Overall, Vanishing Edge is a well-written and thought-provoking read. The author allows the reader to unravel the mystery alongside Harland and Ferdinand. This is a highly recommended read for anyone who enjoys mysteries and investigative stories that take place outdoors with lots of likable characters.

As aforementioned, Claire Kells loves open-water swimming, and it’s no surprise that her novel Girl Underwater follows along the same lines. If you check the latest statics about air travel, you will discover that it’s much safer than car travel. It’s no surprise how the number of people dying from airplane crashes grows smaller each year while the number of those surviving them is growing larger. But despite these impressive stats, plane crashes often result in major casualties, even though they rarely happen.

Meet 19-year-old Avery, a sophomore in college who hobby swimming. She has spent most of her life in water, so she is part of her college’s acclaimed swim team. On her side are a supportive boyfriend, a close-knit family, and a happy life. But everything changes when her plane crashes in the Rocky Mountains while heading home for thanksgiving break, and she finds herself among the only five survivors. Among the survivors are her teammate Collin and three young boys.

The five survivors battle the snowy mountains for the next five days before they are finally rescued. As a reader, you may think Avery’s worst days are over, but that only marks the beginning.

Following Avery’s day, week, and months after the plane crash, we see her battle through the toughest psychological trauma as she struggles to comprehend what she went through. The story alternates to when Avery was in college, her times trying to survive in the cold mountains after the accident; through this, we get to know and understand her situation.

The plane crash scene is vividly described, with the immediate aftermath horrifically described from the impending crash, the impact, and the survivor’s attempts to escape the downed plane. That and everything the survivors go through after being rescued is explained in graphic and emotional detail you will see it unfolding like a horror movie.

Avery and Collin rescue the three small boys from the plane wreckage, and Collins also carries an unconscious pregnant woman on his should. They watch the plane sink into the icy lake. The luggage floats, but there is nothing the survivors can do to retrieve it as the lake is cold, and the only swimmers available are hurt.

Post-rescue, Avery is forced to confront emotional and physical demons. Her efforts to be “normal” and denial to accept help for her post-traumatic stress eventually explode. However, she is a brave and intelligent young woman, even though we often see her in self-doubt, in fear of not fitting or letting her team down. She does what others expect of her, even if it means sacrificing her dreams.

On the other hand, is Collin. He is a true hero, giving Avery the much-needed time and space to come to terms with what had happened to them in the Rocky Mountains. He is patient and decent, and from the go, he obviously loves her despite her hot-cold behavior towards him.
Before the accident, he was selected to participate in the Olympic swim team, but the severe injuries sustained during the crash threatened to end his career in competitive swimming.

Besides Avery and Colin, many other relationships are explored in the book. For example, Avery’s intricate relationship with her family, her newfound relationship with the boys they rescued, her relationship with her college boyfriend Lee, to her uneasy relationship with Collin. Claire Kells explores in vividly and in detail how these relationships changed as Avery also changed, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Even though the survival aspect of the story was great, it was just but part of the plot. There is so much more explored from Avery’s evolution, the lives impacted, and so much that happened after the plane crash.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Claire Kells

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