In the business of writing you set the bar at your own height. But then you need to clear it on each occasion or you fail. And in ‘Chasing Down the Night’ Fran Guenette clears the bar again to the pleasure of her growing band of supporters. The third in her Crater Lake series lives up to the standards set by the first two.
Neither does she get too ambitious, for this would be to risk alienating her readers. The familiar cast of characters resume their lives in the remote lakeside community. Others join them in time – family, friends, new residents and staff at the nearby Micah Camp for often talented youngsters with issues. Relationships – be they familial, loving, friendly, unfriendly – form, renew, fade. Many of these relationships are inevitably interconnected.
There is no overarching plot but instead a series of scenes, conflicts, thoughts spoken and unspoken and actions taken to resolve the issues encountered. There are straight relationships, gay relationships, an examination of racial attitudes from both viewpoints, in this instance the First Nations people of Canada are the diverse culture.
The format works very well with the beautiful location always acting as the backdrop. No major storyline is necessary. If I’m to nit-pick it would be that the number of characters is getting a few too many for comfort. Also everyone is just too likeable, or they come to have redeeming features. It needs a villain or two! Even the menacing cougar that bides his time offstage throughout the novel is ultimately seen as a victim rather than a vicious predator.
No hesitation in awarding yet another five stars, and the Crater Lake saga is left open-ended should the author wish to return there in the future.