I've read all three of Carbo's novels set in Glacier National Park and each one has been better than the last.
The Weight of Night combines a gripping plot, compelling characters, and beautiful, descriptive prose.
Both Monty Harris, a Park Police officer, and Gretchen Larson, crime scene investigator, were featured in Mortal Fall, Carbo's second novel. The narrative In The Weight of Night switches back and forth--from Gretchen's point of view to Monty's.
The book begins with Gretchen's memories of Norway--evocative descriptions of her hometown and the fjord make visualization easy. She also, as early as the second paragraph, mentions her problems with sleepwalking, a REM behavior disorder that "takes sleepwalking to absurd levels." She awakes that morning to find that all the books on her bookshelves have been removed and stacked in rows. Although this is the first evidence of an episode in five years, Gretchen begins reviewing her strategies for dealing with her problem.
Chapter 2 is from Monty's pov and his overview of the fire situation. He meets with the head of one of the fire crews and is present when the firefighters digging a fire break uncover buried skeletal remains. Gretchen Larson is called in for the excavation and preservation of the remains, but is forced to do a hurried job when the wind changes direction and an evacuation of the area is required.
Before leaving, Gretchen's examination of the remains leads her to suspect the victim is a young male. Her remark stirs up memories of the disappearance of Monty's best friend when they were fourteen.
In the midst of the evacuations necessitated by the separate fires that threaten large areas of the 1,583 square mile park, a boy is reported missing from his parents' camp site. Gretchen continues the investigation of the bones, and Monty works with the search for the missing boy.
Tightly plotted, the narrative moves from Gretchen to Monty as they work on the two investigations, but there are also underlying stories being revealed. Although Gretchen was a secondary character in Mortal Fall, this novel largely belongs to her. Her REM behavior disorder is a fascinating element in the novel, her descriptions of her beloved Norway are evocative. That there is a tragedy in her life is revealed in the first chapter, and her gradual revelations are riveting.
Read in Jan.; blog post scheduled for May 17, 2017.
Crime/Suspense. June 6, 2017. Print length: 304 pages.