Charlotte’s Pass by Lee Christine

Charlotte's Pass

Charlotte Pass
by Lee Christine

Detective/Murder Mystery

320 Pages

Published by Allen & Unwin (4th February 2020)

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My rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Allen & Unwin, exchange for an honest review.

Actual rating of 3.5

When human bones are uncovered up at Charlotte’s Pass in the Snowy Mountains, the possibility of solving a fifty year old case is real. In 1964, Celia Delaney apparently walked out of Charlotte’s Pass on her way to Perisher after having a fight with her husband, she was never seen or heard from again. When Detective Ryder Pierce is put on the case, he heads up to Charlotte’s Pass to see what he can uncover, what he doesn’t expect, is to come face to face with yet another murder. Are the two murders related? And if so, why has it taken fifty years for the second one to occur?

I was pretty excited about this book, one, it’s a murder mystery so that would have been enough, but the second reason is because I live in the High Country of Victoria, so I’m nearby to these areas, that was the biggest selling point, if I’m honest. I must admit, it made me giggle a little at the beginning of the book to be reading about a manhunt happening in Khancoban, as I live in a neighbouring town. So the familiarity of the towns and areas that were being mentioned in this book did tickle my fancy a bit, and also made the story a little bit more relatable, I feel as well.

The story starts off with ski patrol Vanessa Bell stumbling across human bones near an area that is about to be opened as a tube run. Our ruggishly handsome detective Ryder is actually working on a different case to begin with, he’s on a manhunt and is less than impressed when he finds out he’s being taken off his current job and being put up on Charlotte’s Pass to help a colleague solve a case that happened fifty years ago. Once there however, Ryder Pierce jumps straight in and does what he does best, solves the damn thing.

The scenery was incredibly well described and it really put you in the location. I felt the cold, and as said above, I got a bit of a giggle out of actually knowing where the author was writing about. Though I must admit, I’m not much of a snow bunny, so I haven’t actually been up to the brilliant skiing and snowboarding areas surrounding me, I prefer to spend my winters indoors, under a blanket with my cat, a blanket and a cup of tea. But this book definitely made me kinda wish that I was more inclined to get out and into the white stuff. As someone who knows nothing about skiing, I loved how much information was actually included that explained about it all, Christine mentions in the acknowledgements section at the end of the book that her daughter helped her with all the skiing information, so I love that she’s done a bit of research into it, it adds that dimension of realness to the story.

The characters were well written. I had a feeling who the culprit was at about the 2/3 mark, but I wasn’t a hundred percent sure as Christine did a good job at throwing in a few possibilities on who could have done it. Ryder is a flawed and general nice guy with a bit of baggage, which I wasn’t a hundred percent sure of why the accident he was involved in was added…I’m not sure if it was meant to add depth to his character, or a bit of backstory. Even though it didn’t entirely gel for me having added this accident to the character’s past, I’ll admit, I did get the warm an fuzzies near the end when he seemed to be healing from his ordeal, I just didn’t quite understand the point of it being there. Vanessa was a good character, a strong, independent woman who is kind, down to Earth and beautiful, there’s honestly not a whole lot to say about her than that. She was a good character, I just didn’t feel like I connected with them completely.

This is a murder mystery/Detective novel, with a bit of romance thrown in which actually threw me a little bit. I felt like the story was sort of pulled between these two genres, they weren’t really blended together too well. I’ll admit, I was invested in the romance by the end, but I still don’t quite understand why it was such a big part of the story…I’m not sure if, once again, Christine was trying to make the story a bit deeper, or whether she wasn’t too sure which genre she wanted the story to be.

I found the pacing to be a bit slow at times, but once things started to get going after the 60% mark, the pacing really picked up, so I found it to be a satisfying read in the end.

All in all, it’s a decent whodunit with a bit of romance thrown in to spice things up. The most appealing thing for me was the location where the story was based because I live in the area. If you like a good murder mystery, give this one a crack.

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