In Borg’s (Tahoe Trap, 2012) latest thriller, Owen McKenna is back in action trying to solve the murder of an elderly woman.
Joe Rorvik was once a world-famous ski racing champion, even capturing the gold medal for the United States at the Winter Olympics. Now well into old age, he lives in a beautiful mountainside home near Lake Tahoe in Nevada. The bliss of Joe’s golden years is suddenly destroyed in an afternoon when his wife, Cynthia, falls off their porch and winds up in a serious, likely fatal coma. The police think it’s an accident, but Joe knows better: Someone tried to murder her. Trouble is, he doesn’t know who did it, and he doesn’t know why. That’s when he turns to detective Owen McKenna and his Great Dane, Spot, to uncover the truth about his beloved wife’s demise. Before long, Cynthia’s friends start turning up dead, too—also from curious “accidents.” McKenna soon finds that all the victims have a common thread: They oppose the development of a new, expensive ski resort right in their backyards. While McKenna scrambles to find the killer and bring some peace to Joe and the other victims, he discovers that Cynthia has one remaining friend, Simone Bonnaire. Though Simone lives in constant fear of her abusive boyfriend, she’s yet to take a stance on the ski resort. Thinking he’s helping her escape, McKenna convinces Simone to take a grueling ski trip through the desolate wilderness, only to realize he’s put her squarely in the path of the murderer, and he has no way to warn her. From that point forward, the chase is on. This is the 11th installment of the Owen McKenna thriller series, so at this stage, Borg has solid command of his character and a fully realized sense of his personality, which readers will enjoy. The landscape is also beautifully crafted, perhaps leading readers to feel like they’re curled by the fire as the snow comes down. The prose can be clunky at times, though, with bits of cliché—“Cynthia’s heart beat so bad that it hurt”—but the pace builds nicely and doesn’t let up once it gathers steam.
A worthy follow-up in the long, enjoyable series of McKenna mysteries.