I got this book as an Advanced Reader Copy clear back in 2016, but I just got around to starting it a couple days ago, and just finished it earlier today (sorry, Alice!).
This is the third book in the Giulia Driscoll Mystery series, but I’d never even heard of the series before winning this copy from a contest last year, so this is the only one I’ve read. Now I want to read the rest of the series!
The characters were engaging, and I was pulled in from the first page. I have a couple friends who are Preppers (although not to the extent of these guys—they’re not convinced the world is going to end any day now, they just want to be ready in case something major does happen—they’re not crazy, just thinking ahead) so I’ve heard some of this before, especially the whole living off the grid idea from one of them. He would be perfectly happy living without technology, as long as he had an endless supply of books to read and a lantern to read them by once it got dark. Of course, he’s not a Luddite by any means, neither of my friends are, they both recognize the value of technology in our society, they just try not to be any more dependent on it than they have to be. They’re more like Giulia in that respect—she does her own canning, grows a lot of her own vegetables, and has other skills that a Prepper would find valuable, but she is perfectly content living in a technology-filled world with working indoor plumbing, electricity, and Starbucks. Being a former nun, however, Giulia could also just as easily live off the grid if she absolutely had to…she just wouldn’t want to.
Giulia learns way more about Preppers than she ever wanted to when a client asks her to search for her missing twin, convinced she’s still alive even though everyone else she talks to (other than their brother) is equally convinced that either the missing woman is dead or missing voluntarily, having decided to start a new life elsewhere…which is where the Preppers come in, as she did join them (briefly) before realizing that particular group had some major flaws that she wanted no part of. Until the last couple chapters, I was convinced the person responsible for her disappearance was one person (in my defense, he really did seem like the most likely suspect) only to realize it was someone else entirely. That doesn’t mean there weren’t some shenanigans going on at the Prepper community, but they didn’t involve the young woman’s disappearance.
All in all it was a very clever story, and I learned things I didn’t know before about the Prepper lifestyle (and yes, would have been just as happy to not learn, but am not sorry I did), as well as a few things about Catholicism (like what Saint Anthony is the patron saint of…he’s actually the patron saint of Native Americans, something I had never heard of before, and he is also known as the “finder of lost articles,” something else I’d never heard of before…so two more things to add to my vast store of mostly useless trivia).
The fourth book in the series is supposed to come out sometime this month, which means I’m going to have to start watching for it to hit our local library’s new shelf sometime around Thanksgiving, and looking for the first two books, so I can get caught up on Giulia and her world!