As a volunteer for Timber Creek Search and Rescue, missing out on holiday festivities is nothing new to Gracie. After all, disasters don’t stop happening because of a cooked turkey. So when Gracie is called out on Thanksgiving for four hikers missing in the wilderness of Southern California, she packs up her gear and heads out to find them.
The mission quickly goes from routine to deadly. An early season blizzard sets in. The one missing person the team does find, famous actor Rob Christian, remembers being attacked by someone else on the trail, someone trying to kill him. And Gracie’s partner leaves to get backup, taking the radio—their only link to the outside world—with him.
Alone in the mountains, Gracie will have to use all her expertise to keep Rob alive. But with an unknown killer lurking somewhere in the dark, even that might not be enough to save them
I found this book to be refreshingly easy to read. Action packed and just the right novel to end a week with. After having a lengthy, frustrating, and exhausting week it was nice to wind down with a thriller like this one.
I enjoyed the expertise knowledge of rescue methodology and approach. I thought it was pretty thorough in the this kind of length of book.
I very much enjoyed this book, but I think the Q/A I have prepared with the author might be more helpful than my words could further on.
Q&A with M.L Rowland
Q: What inspired you to write the book?
M.L Rowland: It was a classic case of writing what I know. I’ve been reading mysteries for years. And I served for a dozen years as a very active volunteer on a very active Search and Rescue (SAR) team in the mountains of southern California. So I put the two together and wrote “Zero-Degree Murder.” Even though it was a volunteer position, I lived and breathed Search and Rescue for so many years that I had literally hundreds of missions, trainings, incidents and stories from which to draw. I did very little traditional research for the book, relying instead on my own knowledge, training, observations and experiences and that of my SAR teammates for the setting and many of the events in “Zero-Degree Murder.” A good friend who read “Zero-Degree Murder” said to me, “So that’s what happens when you get called out on a search. I always wondered.”
Q: What do you hope readers can get from the book?
M.L Rowland: Lots of things! A fun and compelling read for starters, one that grabs their attention and imagination from the very beginning and doesn’t let go until the end. An introduction and demystification of the world of Search and Rescue, what it’s really like, what it entails, what it requires. An awareness of survival and the concept of being prepared and, therefore, self-reliant. An exploration of the idea of facing and conquering one’s personal fears. Especially for women, an awareness that they’re stronger than they may think, capable of summoning inner reserves they may not know exist, that in acknowledging and standing up to their fears, they can conquer them.
Q: Did you have a specific audience in mind?
M.L Rowland: Predominantly adult women, but I hoped and have found that men find “Zero-Degree Murder” interesting and compelling as well. So, in other words, I hope both men and women of all ages will enjoy the book!
Q: What's your favorite part in the book and why?
M.L Rowland: I love that Gracie Kinkaid is smart, physically capable, skilled and proficient. Gracie has her faults and self-doubts, as everyone does, but she’s a lot stronger than she believes on so many different levels. She proves she has courage, which is not to say she’s not afraid, but she acts in the face of and in spite of the fear.
I also love Gracie and Rob’s relationship—that they come from such different backgrounds and worlds in which both are somewhat isolated or insulated, and that they find comfort and friendship in each other, that they learn different things from each other.
Q: What do you want the readers to give you feedback on from reading the book?
M.L Rowland: There are so many differing opinions about what constitutes a mystery, an adventure book, a suspense thriller, a cozy, that I’m very interested in hearing their opinions about what genre this book falls into, mystery, adventure, suspense thriller, etc.
Also I would love to hear ideas about where Gracie should go next. The second book in the series, “Murder Off the Beaten Path,” is already written, so it would be for Books Three and beyond. Should she end up with Ralph? Should she end up with Rob? Should she go it alone? Should she stay in Timber Creek? Move to another state (like Colorado for instance)? What nefarious thugs should she face?
Length: 304 pages
First Published: 2014