Still trying to prove to the good folks of Baptist Flats, Tennessee, that a woman who’s five-foot-nothing has the mettle to wear a badge, Dani is called in to investigate the death of a man found in a horse’s stall with his pants around his ankles. At first it appears to be a simple accident, but things turn complicated when the victim’s only ID belongs to an ATF agent. A female ATF agent. A missing female ATF agent.
To make matters worse, a mystery man named Jack Spivey has come to town, asking questions about the ATF agent’s disappearance and promising a world of pain when he doesn’t like the answers. Then an Amazonian ex-Marine joins in, and Dani has no choice but to team up with these shadowy strangers. As they follow a twisted trail of clues into the mountains, they uncover a chilling conspiracy—and a common enemy who’s trained to kill.
What I liked: Savage Rising is gritty, contains a bit of humor, and a female lead, Dani Savage, who is extremely well written. But her character, while the star, is joined by many other extremely interesting characters. Each is unique and to me, so life like (yeah, I know in my heart, the story is a bit farfetched) but everything meshes very well. As the second in a series, I expected more and I was not disappointed.
Mr. Caldwell has a gift in his writing. I was caught up in both books and just couldn’t stop reading. What is extremely important, these are not the normal books I would become addicted to and now I just want to know what happens next. The majority of the characters maybe with the exception of Deputy Sheriff Dani Savage, are not pristine or law-abiding. That makes the book that much more intriguing. You find yourself liking some of the shady characters and the bad guys, well, they are really corrupt and you can hate them freely.
Dani, called The Little Deputy, a name she hates, is often not taken seriously and that’s for two reasons; her looks and her size don’t inspire all that much confidence, but she more than makes up for that with her smarts and stubborn desire to be a great deputy. She works for her Uncle Otis Royal and even he, upon occasion underestimates Dani’s smarts and tenaciousness in following through on a case. In some cases, her drive causes some BIG problems for family and friends.
We get even more background on the characters and the bad guys have no qualms about what they want to do and are willing to dispose of anyone in their way. We also get two new characters just to add an even more dynamic. I can’t wait to see how all that works out.
The setting in rural Tennessee and the characters in the town of Baptist Flats are pretty spot on if you know anything about rural Tennessee. Believe me, I live in part of a rural area and while the people here aren’t as obvious in walking on the seamy side of life, there are a lot of problems with crime, attitudes, and everyone being related to someone. Several of the characters from the first book do return for Savage Rising and they just add a bit more to the storyline especially after what happened in the first book.
Everything in this book flows smoothly and the plot, while at first, might seem unimaginable, Mr. Caldwell quickly and professionally ties some plots together and the characters are believable.
What I didn’t like: There were some cases, especially with the introduction of the new characters where I wanted more background but I can see how that might develop in future books. I can’t wait!
There is one caution I point out for some readers. I said "gritty" and by that I mean the language, the innuendos, and the graphic violence. Just being upfront about it.
Overall, I devoured Savage Rising and was thoroughly entertained. I did receive an ARC from NetGalley for a fair and honest review. I will be stalking NetGalley for the next in the series.