Snow Rush by James Easton #BookReview

In the plush French ski-town of Morzine, the season is underway and everything seems normal. But the quiet resort is about to become the venue for a brutal clash between dangerous men who feed on violence and a woman of honour who won’t back down.
Ex-firearms cop, Carolina Carrasco, is reluctantly chaperoning precocious teenager Miguel on a snowboarding trip when a group of heavy-duty criminals moves in next door. So does Robin King, a journalist chasing a career-defining interview with the gang’s leader, the notorious Jean Haim.
A chance event leads Carolina and Haim into a deadly game of cat and mouse. When Haim targets Miguel, Carolina unleashes in defending him and there is only one way it can end.
Snow Rush is a fast, violent, sexy origin story for Carolina Carrasco, a hero who works, loves, and always, always shoots straight.

I'm delighted to be sharing my review of Snow Rush today. Many thanks to James Easton for sending me a digital copy of the book to review, and to my fellow blogger, Surjit for drawing my attention to this exciting thriller - you can read his review here.

The explosive opening to Snow Rush is a memorable introduction to the Carolina Carrasco series but just as it seems that she is a cop to be reckoned with, we discover that the twenty-five year old is on her last day as armed cover for tactical operations in the Spanish National Police. Although this is a fast-paced thriller, the character development is more measured and so before we learn more about Carolina, we are introduced to a number of other key players in what proves to be an impressive debut novel.
Jean Haim is a notorious armed robber whose position as France's most wanted criminal ended when he was caught and sentenced to twenty years in prison. He had previously shared a passionate night with ambitious journalist, Robin King and now, three years into his sentence, has contacted her again as he wants to do an extended, biopic interview. Meanwhile, although Carolina is planning to join a private security agency agency in London, she is left with little choice but to accept a two-week position as protection for Miguel, a teenage boy whose mother works in the Ministry of Defence and whose father is a major defence contractor. She eventually agrees to accompany him to Morzine in the French Alps where she will be able to work on her English when she isn't teaching Miguel how to snowboard.
By coincidence, a violent arms dealer, Max Rokos meets with a loan shark, Eric, to discuss arranging storage for an important deal and consequently (in return for a reduced debt and extended time to pay back what's left), Eric blackmails a client into lending him his property in Morzine. Henri is a plastic surgeon who owes a huge sum of money to Eric, without his wife knowing and so the offer of some breathing space is too good to resist.
These are people who are all highly accomplished in their various areas of expertise, whether within or outside the law. Therefore, although Carolina's presence in Morzine isn't linked to the criminals' visit, it's not surprising that somebody as observant and perceptive as she is would recognise people who shouldn't be there. It also means that the understandably paranoid antagonists also spot that she is somebody with a particular skill set and become interested in who she is protecting... The pacy narrative switches between the characters, giving readers an insight into what each of them knows, thinks they know or are unaware of. 
The story quickly becomes tense as it's never really clear who has the upper hand, especially as it isn't immediately clear what Jean Haim - freshly escaped from prison and hiding out in Morzine with Robin -  is capable of. Robin appears to be besotted with him and allows herself to be subjected to some uncomfortable, demeaning treatment but could she be in more danger than she realises?
As the book progresses and the body count rises, I read Snow Rush with my heart in my mouth, never sure who would survive. Carolina is a superb protagonist - brave, resourceful and utterly kickass but is clearly affected by her experiences. I am excited to learn more about her as the series develops and love that there is endless scope for her to demonstrate her considerable skills on the international stage. Robin is a strong female character, too and while less likeable than Carolina, I was fascinated to see what she would do as her situation becomes more uncertain. What perhaps surprised me most though, was that I found myself conflicted by my feelings for the criminals. Jean is obviously a dangerous villain but his undeniable charisma ensured I was intrigued to discover whether his plans would come to fruition and I found the chapters featuring Max, Eric and Henri equally as compelling.
The rising tension and riveting interplay between the fully developed characters kept me gripped throughout. Intricate plotting, nail-biting action scenes and an excellent sense of place means Snow Rush is a thoroughly enjoyable debut thriller. I look forward to reading more from James Easton soon.

Snow Rush is independently published and can be purchased from Amazon UK and Amazon US

About the Author

James Easton is the author of the Carolina Carrasco action thriller series. He writes fast stories that draw readers into worlds of suspense and pulsating action with characters whose company they love.
He is finishing the second Carolina Carrasco story as you read this. Get ready for a rip-roaring ride of revenge and redemption on the most beautiful coastline in Europe.
He lives in London with his family.