Release Date: Feb 20, 2018
Series: Ozark Mysteries
Imprint: Witness Impulse
Elsie Arnold is an assistant prosecutor in Southern Missouri. Mandy, the teenaged assault victim in Elsie’s latest case, disappears before she can testify against her attacker. When middle school student Desiree Wickham also goes missing, Elsie is afraid both girls may be in danger. Elsie thinks the two girls may have been targeted by a ruthless man posing as an agent for a modeling placement company who has other plans for the girls. Elsie is anxious to take action, but authorities are dragging their feet. Since Elsie can’t get any cooperation from her boyfriend, Detective Bob Ashlock, she starts her own investigation. Elsie follows a promising lead, but soon is in as much danger as the girls she is trying to protect.
A Wolf in the Woods is the fourth book in Nancy Allen’s Ozarks Mystery series. I’ve read the others and they would allow the reader to get to know Elsie better, but new readers will easily connect with Elsie and get caught up in her latest case. The author isn’t afraid to tackle uncomfortable subjects, showing that big cities aren’t the only places in which serious crimes take place. It’s hard reading about young, vulnerable women being taken advantage of predators in the sex trafficking trade. However, the book shines a light on this disturbing issue and provides a suspenseful and scary story.
The main character of the series, Elsie, is one-of-a-kind. She is strong and independent, but far from perfect. She makes bad decisions in her love life and often acts and speaks impulsively. However, her flaws make her real and relatable. She is someone to root for, even when you’re frustrated with her. Often her own actions create extra obstacles for her as she tries to succeed in a highly competitive profession. It’s hard to be taken seriously investigating a serious crime when the witness has seen you stumbling out of the local bar after a night of overindulging! Elsie often puts herself in terrible danger, but it’s out of her sincere dedication to victims of crimes the she ends up in so many precarious situations.
Elsie’s current love interest, Detective Bob Ashlock, is also dedicated to his job, as well as his son. Elsie’s mom feels Bob is the perfect match for Elsie, but I’m not so sure. Although he is a good guy, I think he often comes across as judgmental and unappreciative of Elsie. Decisions are made regarding their relationship in this book, but I don’t know if a bombshell revealed at the end of the story will have any effect on this or not. Fans of the author won’t want to miss A Wolf in the Woods, and new readers who enjoy author Hank Phillippi Ryan or Sara Paretsky will enjoy the fierceness of main character, Elsie.