REVIEW: The Girl in the Woods by Kristen Ashley


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This body would be the last for Zachariah Lazarus…

The Crystal Killer’s latest casualty was discovered in a sleepy town in the Pacific Northwest, Misted Pines.

His years in the FBI, and tracking the Crystal Killer, have taken their toll on Rus. He lost his marriage to the job. And the burdens he carries for the victims was crushing him.

Misted Pines has recently survived a killer’s rampage and a town scandal that made global news. The media was primed to devour a new story. So Rus already has his work cut out for him.

But it’s more.

Something is just not right with this latest victim.

As Rus works with the local sheriff to unravel the mystery, the victim’s employer, Lucinda Bonner, decides she’s going to do everything she can to help.

To help Rus find the killer. To help Rus survive the hunt. To help Rus navigate the intricate, and sometimes sordid, history of the town of Misted Pines.

And to help Rus let go of his burdens.

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Kristen Ashley takes readers back to the sleepy mountain town of Misted Pines with the second installment of the Misted Pines series of romantic thrillers. Fair warning to readers that this story contains graphic content that may be triggering to some readers. The Girl in the Woods features FBI agent Zachariah ‘Rus’ Lazarus, who’s in town investigating a murder that may be related to the serial killer case he’s working.  Lucinda ‘Cin’ Bonner, owns a burlesque club and is boss of the victim in Rus’s case.

I really don’t want to give away a lot of spoilers, so I’m going to focus on what I really loved about this book. I loved Rus and Cin. Both of them were those quintessential KA main characters readers love from her, with Rus in all his alpha-male glory and the smart, sassy, independent heroine, Cin. I loved that this wasn’t the first time around the block for either Rus or Cin. Mature couples have some relationship experiences under their belts. They know exactly what they want, and they know how to ask for it, in bed and out of it. I really liked both Rus and Cin’s personal backstories which added wonderful dimension to the development of these characters. I loved their families and all the secondary characters. But hands down, the utterly enthralling, thoroughly engaging plot was what I loved most about this story.

The Girl in the Woods was a refreshing change-of-pace for this avowed contemporary romance and romcom reader, and I’m hopeful that KA will take me back to Misted Pines at some point. A thrilling story bursting with anticipation and passion coupled with a fast-paced plot and a smoking-hot mature romance kept me furiously tapping my Kindle. A brilliantly told romantic thriller with all the nostalgic feels that I love about KA’s storytelling, but in a fresh, new setting with interesting, new characters. Hair-raising suspense and scorching-hot chemistry between a mature couple made this a story that grabbed my attention from the first page and held it captive the whole way through. Five smooches from me for The Girl in the Woods  by Kristen Ashley!

~Danielle Palumbo



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