Vanishing Hour by Laura Griffin


“Corporate lawyer Ava Burch has had enough of the big city and the daily grind. She grew up in rural Texas with her father, who raised search-and-rescue dogs, and has now moved to the small town of Cuervo to spend time in the dry, rugged wilderness near Big Bend National Park. When she and her dog, Huck, discover an abandoned campsite while on a volunteer search-and-rescue mission, she’s perplexed, but she carefully photographs it all the same.

All Grant Wycoff can see when he looks at Ava is a city slicker – with her designer jeans and shiny car – who has no business on a serious team made up of skilled searchers and retired copes. But when she tells him of her findings on the trail, he sees there’s more to her than meets the eye. Ava’s discovery reminds Grand of the unsolved case of a young woman who went missing two years ago. As they look into the campsite further, another woman disappears under odd circumstances. With time running out, Ava and Grant must work against the brutal heat from both the Texas sun and their own electric chemistry to solve the case.”

-Synopsis from back cover


Cover image from StoryGraph

Vanishing Hour is Laura Griffin’s latest standalone romantic suspense. Not only was I intrigued by that gorgeous cover, but the synopsis mentioning a search-and-rescue dog piqued my interest right away, too, as I haven’t read many books that feature search-and-rescue animals.

Ava stumbles onto an abandoned campsite and immediately knows something is off about it based on items she finds inside the tent. Her persistence in making sure the sheriff’s office sees the photos she took of the campsite is what gets Grant involved, and he immediately sees a link to a cold case from two years ago.

Right off the bat, Ava is involved in the reopening of the investigation whether she wants to be or not. With her search-and-rescue dog, Huck, she is around the sheriff’s office team of volunteers enough to catch wind of a new case that she also becomes involved in.

I enjoyed watching Ava and Grant unravel this mystery, but almost equally as much as I enjoyed the setting of this novel. Cuervo is a small town frequented mostly by tourists looking for thrilling outdoor activities.

In the middle of June, you can count on more than a few of them heading out on the trails unprepared for the summer heat and findings themselves lost and dehydrated within a few hours. Ava keeps busy helping out with the search-and-rescue operations, but it also means she has more time to spend in Silver Canyon Park where she learns more than one woman has gone missing in recent years.

This book is fast-paced and contains many twists. I truly had no idea what would happen at the end and it was a surprise ending for sure. Overall it was a great read with lots of suspense and an intriguing mystery that kept my on my toes.

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