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Ratings and Book Reviews (5 25 star ratings
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4.5 out of 5
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    Mystery in the Alaskan bush

    Stone Cross is the second book in The Deputy Marshal Arliss Cutter series by Marc Cameron. It can be read as a stand-alone, the author providing us with all necessary information about the main characters. A silver cross decorated army veteran, originally based in Florida, Arliss Cutter has settled in Alaska to look after his brother’s widow and family. Cutter and his deputy, Lola Teariki, of Maoi origin, are tasked to escort a judge for an arbitration in Stone Cross, a small town in the Alaska bush, home to a native community of a few hundred inhabitants. Kind of a burden at first, this Judge will prove to be a much more compelling character as the story moves forward. Several plot points are put into motion before the Marshalls even arrive in Stone Cross. The main one being the abduction of a couple overseeing a remote lodge for the winter, and the murder of the lodge’s handyman. It doesn’t fall under the Marshalls’ purview (and neither do the other happenings in Stone Cross), but circumstances won’t leave them any other choice than to get involved. Stone Cross is home to a sheer number of interesting characters, on which the author gives enough background to get us to care about the goings in their lives. The number of characters is so overwhelming that Marc Cameron put a cast summary at the beginning of the book. It proved to be unnecessary, as the characters are so well introduced and fleshed out that I never had to go back to it for reference. All the crimes and mysteries moving the story forward are interesting in themselves but, the strength of this book lies elsewhere. Marc Cameron is a retired US Marshall. In 1998, he moved to Alaska to serve as deputy in charge of the multi-agency Alaska Fugitive Task Force, as well as a member of the Tactical Tracking Unit, before spending the last six years of his career as Chief Deputy for Alaska (according to a 2016 interview given to wickedauthors.com). As such, he knows what he’s writing about. He gifts us with an incredible account of what life is in the remote Alaska bush. And, it’s a whole other world. A world in which our taken for granted commodities are sparse, communication, infrastructure and transportation are unreliable. A world in which everything we’re used to buy without a second thought is expensive, and workers are given subsistence days to go hunting for food. A place where one can remain pinned by cold storms, cut from any help or medical services, hopefully used to fend for oneself. The isolated Alaska bush is known for a high number of crimes and misdemeanors, and Marc Cameron doesn’t try to hide this fact. But, he makes a point to show us that it’s also mainly home to good people, and pretty strong characters, with a high sense of community. This depiction of rural Alaska is the most fascinating part of this novel. Marc Cameron immerses his story in an authentic setting, fueled by his years of experience in the field, his knowledge of the area, of its inhabitants, and its folklore. I don’t think I’ve ever read a novel teaching me so many things, and I don’t think I would have gotten much more from a documentary. it sure wouldn’t have been as thrilling, as the mystery isn’t to be overlooked. It evolves at a good pace in this rich environment, a sense of urgency slowly climbing as we witness the evolving predicament of the victims, before picking up in parallel thrilling final acts neatly resolving all the plot points. This is a book not to be missed by those liking their thrillers with authenticity and substance. Thanks to Netgalley and Kensington books for the ARC granted in exchange for this unbiased review. Don’t miss the yummy bonus at the very end of the book.
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    Thriller

    Arliss Cutter is intelligent, intriguing, and a bit of an enigma. Reading book one of this series I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning to finish a book by this author that was filled with murder, mystery and mayhem AND the same is true for reading the second book because it was 4am before I read the last page and finally headed to bed. As I read I grew to know more about Alaska and Arliss and I fell in love with Grumpy – the grandfather who raised Arliss. The main case was brutal and so was the encroaching Alaska winter. This could have been just the story of solving a murder and finding people that disappeared but it was so much more. What I liked: * Arliss: for reasons mentioned above and also because he is a man I admire and would like to know better. I want him to have a happy future and hope that some of his dreams will come true as the series continues. * The information learned about a bit of Arliss’s past * The character guide at the beginning of the book * Birdie: a Yu’pik woman who suffered greatly and achieved much – I truly admired her. * Lola: Arliss’s partner – a strong tough woman with a heart of gold * Sarah: her strength and courage were amazing * The weaving in of the side stories that enhanced the overall story * Mim: Arliss’s widowed sister-in-law and her concern fo her children and also for Arliss’s well being * Arliss’s relationship with his brother’s family * What I learned about living in remote Alaska, mushing dogs, and how the weather impacts living there. * Reading about and then googling poke-hand and thread tattooing then cringing when I found out what it was and how there is a resurgence in the art form. I also learned a bit, after googling again, about cut and chisel tattooing used by the Maoris. * There are so many other things to mention but I really and truly liked it all except for… What I did not like: * The bad guys...they were ruthless, evil, despicable no good rotten...just horrible * Having to wait till the next book is written so I can find out what happens next. Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books for the ARC – This is my honest review. 5 Stars
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    Outstanding

    An outstanding mystery, one if Marc Camerons best stories with a real flavour if the true Alaska
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    Great book

    Do very much like Arliss Cutter - and love the wilds of Alaska - Marc writes very enjoyable books with great heroes (loved all the Jerico Quinn books as well)
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    Stone Cross

    Absolute Ripper Read. Takes you to the Wild often Unforgiving Territory. Warts and ALL. Leaves the reader with a desire to see more through Marc’s eyes and books.
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