Blog Tour & Review – Panther Gap by James A. McLaughlin

Happy April! Still freezing cold here in Minnesota but what else is new?

Thanks to Flatiron Books for the gifted copy and blog tour spot in exchange for my honest review

PANTHER GAP – James A. McLaughlin (Releasing April 4th, 2023)

Book Description:

The thrilling follow-up to the Edgar Award–winning Bearskin, about two siblings on the verge of inheriting millions but who discover dark secrets in their family’s past.

Siblings Bowman and Summer were raised by their father and two uncles on a remote Colorado ranch. They react differently to his radical teachings and the confusions of adolescence. As young adults, they become estranged but are brought back together in their thirties by the prospect of an illegal and potentially dangerous inheritance from their grandfather. They must ultimately reconcile with each other and their past in order to defeat ruthless criminal forces trying to extort the inheritance.

Set in the rugged American West and populated by drug cartels, shadowy domestic terrorists, and nefarious business interests, Panther Gap shows James McLaughlin’s talents on full display: gorgeous environmental writing, a white-knuckle thriller plot, and characters dealing with legacy, identity, and their own place in the world.

My Thoughts: 4/5 stars

I have to say that I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when picking up PANTHER GAP, but the premise sounded intriguing enough that I wanted to give it a chance. Wow. What an incredible story. This is a book that spans across different genres and messages – so many layers to this story that it seems there’s something in here for most readers. You want a bit of a thriller with some intense interactions with drug cartels? You want an engaging and emotional story about the bond between siblings? Does off-grid life intrigue you? Is the relation between animals and humans in remote areas fascinate you? You’ll find a little of all of these hidden within the pages of this book.

There is a lot of back and forth between the past and present, but once I got used to that then the book had a really steady pacing to it. The animals and the mysticism around them and their relation to the land was captivating to read, and I think the author did a perfect job setting the scene and the atmosphere of this small, isolated area of Colorado. Not only are there the family secrets and the siblings, Bowman and Summer, are now having to deal with finding where they belong in the world after their unconventional upbringing. While the rivalries with the drug cartels may seem oddly placed in this story, it’s a point of real intensity and white-knuckle action.

I had a great time with this book and need to go back and see what else McLaughlin has released. The way he weaves a story and has so many layers to it is a real treat to read. This wasn’t a predictable thriller about dealing with dangerous cartels or gangs, this was so much more. Come for the thriller aspects, but stay for the sibling bond, the beautiful setting, and the mystical animals that watch over it all.


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