Book Reviews

Book Review: But Not Forgiven by BJ Bourg – Hunting For Revenge

This is the second in a series of books surrounding the character of Clint Wolf. He lost his wife and daughter to violence while he was sitting right next to them, unable to protect them. After a long time of wallowing in his grief, he’s given the job of Sheriff in Mechant Loup, a small town in southern Louisiana. The first book, But Not Forgiven, established a lot, but I feel like it can be picked up here and not miss much.

A woman is found murdered in her driveway, shot through the heart with a razor-tipped arrow. This is not the norm, in case you were wondering. Sheriff Wolf opens an investigation that becomes all the more urgent when there’s another victim, killed in the same manner, the next day. It seems they have a serial killer on the loose, and figuring out what the victims have in common is the key to solving the mystery.

Clint is at the focus of this. He’s still struggling with his drinking in the shadow of losing his family and is questioning every step with a new girlfriend. He’s torn between getting on with his life and guilt over moving on. Bourg portrays this really well. Clint drinks to silence the dreams that come, but the guilt is still there. His relationship with his officers is a good one as they respect him, even as they know he is suffering. I particularly liked the character of Susan, a no-nonsense deputy who can take care of herself, but is also at the center of a controversy that won’t be resolved in this book. She seems to be attracted to Clint as well, but he is oblivious. I think she would be better suited to him in the long run, but I’ll have to keep reading the series to see where it goes.

The mystery here is revealed slowly. There’s no figuring out who the killer is ahead of time as the reader learns what the police learn at the same time. There’s no knowing what ties the murder victims together until the police piece it together. There’s no knowing where the killers could be until the police piece it together, and even then, the logical conclusion isn’t the correct one. I figured out the killer when the story told me who it was, and I don’t think it could have been known before then.

The setting is intriguing. I’ve always heard that Louisiana is something of a different world, but Bourg manages to bring us into it quite well. Mechant Loup has a double-edged sword of being something of a tourist town where the locals depend on those who come in with their airboats to traverse the swamps while also having locals who wish they would just go away and leave them alone. I live in a similar place in the north so I can commiserate. Clint has to strike a balance between the locals who distrust any law enforcement with those who want to bring the tourist dollars in. He’s under pressure to close the case, but he stands strong in finding the actual killer, and not just someone to pin the blame on and make everyone feel safer.

But Not Forgiven is a good second entry in the series where we’re just starting to know some of the characters we’ll be following going forward. It builds nicely on the first novel and develops more of the town as well. I thoroughly enjoyed it and can’t wait to move on to the third book!

Previous book in the series:

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