If you go down to the woods today: Cold heart Creek by Lisa Regan review


Let me make a case for Lisa Regan's books with detective Josie Quinn. If you like me adore Nevada Barr's Anna Pigeon, this series is a slam dunk: the same outdoorsy setting, the no-nonsense but compassionate protagonist, the same mastery of plot. If you re not particularly fond of the genre...wait, can we call it that? There are not nearly enough thrillers set in the wild. More, please!
But aside from that, if that is not your jam, I bet a thriller with an unusual premise, a careful and unexpected unfolding, involving compelling and likable characters, will do.  And throw in a weird cult, and I bet you are downloading Cold Heart Creek already.
At book nr seven, it works as a standalone book, but wish I came in earlier in this series, and I almost put it away halfway through not to let it spoil the previous ones.
This is unpretentious stuff: There are a lot of things this book doesn't have, no wisecracking, no multiple POVs, no unreliable protagonist, no whining. It doesn't need it; it is engaging and genuine.
Lisa Regan doesn't waste to much time explaining her leads or villains; she is a matter of fact in evoking them. For example, Josie and her partner and boyfriend Noah rib each other throughout the book about a toaster oven. It is cute; their relationship must be pretty good shape if that is the worst point of contention. And it shows that when it concerns the heavy stuff, they are on the same wavelength.
With the rustic setting, the style is a perfect match: straightforward, uncomplicated, without any tricks,  just plain satisfying in a comforting retro kind of way. And by that, I mean that Josie fits in with decent, tough, and highly professional gals of the first wave of female detectives, like Kinsey Milhone, V. I. Warshawsky, and Anna Pigeon.

The gist: 

Detective Josie Quinn and her partner Noah are called on the scene on a campsite in the small town of Denton, Pennsylvania, where two campers are found dead, probably poisoned, and a third is missing. While exploring the neighboring woods, Josie and Noah enter the gates of a secret community lead by Charlotte, a vague creature, who while being evasive, can look right through Josie and see her darkest fears.
Josie has been suffering from nightmares lately, all connected to the imminent death of the abusive woman she believed to be her mother. Reeling from her trauma, Josie dives into this case and the woods, a little too deep, running the risk not to find her way out.