#BookReview – HARBINGER – WAKE-ROBIN RIDGE #3 by Marcia Meara #supernatural

Back to Marcia’s Wake-Robin Ridge series, and my next review following my binge read of the series so far.

If you haven’t seen them yet, take a look at my reviews of book #1 and book #2

So here’s my review of book #3 – yet another 5*

 

Harbinger (Wake-Robin Ridge #3)Harbinger by Marcia Meara
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A little girl goes into the woods with someone she trusts – but never comes out again.
20 years later, Sheriff Wardell asks if Mac and his adopted son, Rabbit, will consider reviewing the unsolved cold case in the hope that maybe Rabbit’s gift of the Sight might bring something new to light where conventional methods failed.
Rabbit is keen to help bring closure to a family torn apart by the girl’s disappearance, and Mac, along with a less than keen Sarah, agree to support him as he learns more about how to use his extraordinary talents. It isn’t all plain sailing, and sometimes downright painful and challenging, but with his impressively developed sense of justice, Rabbit is tenacious, and as he meets more of those involved, ever more determined to find an answer to the mystery that ripped a family apart.
Once again, Meara brings us an insight into the nature of the villain, a man haunted by disturbing dreams of a giant black dog – Ol’ Shuck, the harbinger of death. As his fabricated life falls apart – like his sanity – we get a good look at what formed him into the monster he became. I found myself by turn appalled, and then saddened that a child should be shaped into such a twisted creature he never really stood a chance of becoming a worthwhile human being.
No cardboard cut-out baddies here!
Meara excels at taking local legends and incorporating them seamlessly into her stories, alongside the charm of her expanding main cast: Rabbit, Mac, and Sarah, along with Sheriff Wardell and his family. Once again, I was enthralled and propelled through this book without pause, and right on into the next one.

View all my reviews

42 comments

  1. So lovely to find your review of Harbinger today, Debby! I’m super happy that you liked this one. I love the legend of the Black Dog, which had its start in your part of the world, before being carried across the Pond by the early settlers in the Appalachian mountains. They’ve given it their own unique mountain spin, of course, but it’s fundamentally the same. You do NOT want to walk outside one day and see the Black Dog waiting for you, much less be haunted by it for twenty years or so.

    I’m glad you understood that Cadey was a product of his upbringing. Some of us can overcome a terrible childhood, and some are destroyed by one. I admit to feeling a bit sorry for Cadey, myself, especially as every dishonest piece of the life he’d invented for himself finally deconstructed around him.

    Thanks for reading this one and taking the time to write such a terrific review! Sharing!! 🙂 ❤

    1. Marcia, I didn’t realise the legend started over here, now I will have to go and research it some.
      Being interested in psychology is one of my quirks, and I try to bring this to my characters too, just as you do with yours. Villains are a bit like horses – they are rarely bad natured at birth, but made that way by humans. That makes me sad, and sorry when I see a person (or a horse) that didn’t really stand any chance of being decent because of their start in life – just like Cadey.

      1. Yep, the legend of the Black Dog is Celtic in origin and has been around a LONG time. In fact, the Hound of the Baskervilles was supposedly based on it, though it predates that, too. Many of the early settlers in our Appalachian mountains came from Scotland, Ireland, and England, and carried lots of folk tales with them. I do believe it was our mountain folks that named him Ol’ Shuck, though I could be wrong about that.

        I like understanding why people do the things they do, even the bad guys. (Lloyd Carter had a childhood that twisted him, too, btw.) When it comes to nature vs nurture, I tend to believe it’s a bit of both. But even if a person IS born with a temperament that lends itself to meanness, etc, I think it can be tempered at least somewhat with kindness and love. Or conversely, made worse through neglect and cruelty. And the kindest of us can be warped by the same things, especially during our formative years. We are nothing if not complex, eh? All the more fun to write about, though often less so to live with. 😉

      2. Oh yes, re Lloyd, that was the first thing I noticed when I started the series. Love the way you fooled us at the start of ‘The Light’ into thinking we knew who the villain was! More on that in the next review ❤

  2. Reblogged this on The Write Stuff and commented:
    What a lucky day this cloudy, gray Monday has turned out to be! Just found another wonderful review for one of my Wake-Robin Ridge books. Deborah Jay has some lovely things to say about Harbinger, the 3rd book in the series, and I do hope you’ll check out her post, then pass it along far and wide. Thanks so much, and my grateful thanks to Debby for sharing her thoughts on this tale of the Black Dog. Big Hugs! 🙂 ❤

  3. Congrats to Marcia for such a terrific review and to you for sharing Debby. ❤

    1. Thanks, Marje! It really is great to read something like this, especially when it involves someone who’s enjoying the series enough to binge read four straight books. I’m so chuffed!! (Look, Debby! I’m bilingual today!) 😀 Thanks for stopping by, Marje! I appreciate it! 🙂 ❤

    2. I do love to share my reviews, particularly when it’s a book I’ve loved ❤

  4. I love this book and this series. Nice to see it getting some love here.

    1. It feels pretty nice to me, too, Staci! *Happy sigh!* I’m really excited to see that Debby is enjoying the whole series. Thanks for stopping by, too! 🙂 ❤

    2. Hopefully this will help to bring Marcia’s series to an even wider audience.

      1. I hope so, too.

  5. I really enjoyed this book, actually the whole series. I love how Marcia ties remnants of folklore and legend into her tales. Wake-Robin Ridge is an awesome collection. Lovely to see Harbinger in the spotlight.

    1. Thanks so much, Mae! Yep, Harbinger doesn’t get as much attention as the others, but it sure did today. I love this review, and am so glad Debby enjoyed it! (A wider audience sounds WONDERFUL! Yes, please. Could I have some more? 😀 ) Thanks so much for stopping by today, Mae. Always great to see you! 🙂 ❤

    2. She really has a great way of including legends into her stories. And I know how hard it is often to get reviews for anything other than book #1 in a series, so I’m doing the lot ❤

  6. So cool. I’ve read stories about Black Shuck from some of my UK friends. It makes perfect sense that immigrants would bring their legends over here.

    1. I think it’s fun taking a look at where some of the legends and folklore originated, Craig. The Black Dog was one I’d read about some time ago, and realized it would add a nice, spooky touch to this story. I’ve done some ghostly things, some ESP, the Black Dog, and even the mystery of the Brown Mountain Lights. Guess it’s time for a bit more research into a few more strange mountain doin’s. 😀 Thanks for stopping by today and taking the time to leave a comment. 🙂

      1. I really enjoy research. Maybe that makes me strange, but I think stories are better for it.

      2. Not strange at all! Interesting yes, strange, no.

      3. Marcia, can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

    2. And Marcia has such a fabulous way of incorporating these tales right into the fabric of her stories.

  7. The more I read about this series, the more I want to read it. Congratulations, Marcia, for such a great review.

    1. Go for it Jacqui!

  8. I recently started book 2 in this series, so Rabbit and I are just getting acquainted. Wonderful review, Deborah – congrats, Marcia!

    1. 😀 Rabbit just keeps on growing ❤

  9. Great review of Marcia’s book. I haven’t started this series yet, but imagine that I will before long. It’s gotten such great feedback. Thanks for sharing!

    1. My pleasure. You’ll enjoy it, I guarantee!

  10. I’m in the middle of my own can’t-put-down binge reading [The Anniversary Day Saga by Kristine Kathryn Rusch], but your review intrigued me so I might give this series a try myself. 🙂

    1. And I might try the one you are reading!

      1. lol – it’s scifi but really really good scifi. 🙂

      2. She’s a great author, and SF was my first reading love before I found fantasy ❤️

      3. Really? That’s brilliant. I cycle between the two. Absolutely adore Robin Hobb but scifi is in the ascendant at the moment.

      4. Robin Hobb is awesome, but I’m currently pushing myself to read some new genres.

      5. Let me know if you find any new favourite authors. 🙂

      6. Oh. p.s.! have you read any of Martha Wells’ work? She’s fantasy but with a scifi bent, if that makes any sense.

      7. I haven’t, I’ve been largely reading indie authors for the last few years – I’ll take a look, thanks 😀

      8. She’s kind of an indie. Or at least I think she started out as an indie. Her low priced ebooks date from BP [before publisher]. 🙂

      9. I will check her out right now!

    1. Always easy to write a nice review when the book is so worthy of one 😀

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