James M. Jackson’s new thriller, Cabin Fever, grabs you in the first chapter andnever lets you go. It is the second Seamus McCree book but it can be read as a stand-alone. His earlier book, Bad Policy (2013), is the first in the McCree series. Cabin Fever has many wonderful qualities, but I’d like to describe three: the setting, McCree’s character, and the non-stop plot.
You will shiver as you read this book because it is set in the upper peninsula of Michigan, a place Jackson knows well. Three feet of snow, minus four degrees, thick mud, your breath crystalizing in the wind, no cell phone coverage, and ten hours of daylight all add to the atmosphere of the novel. It is not a place for the faint of heart and it is quite isolated, a characteristic Seamus McCree desires. Added to the weather are gorgeous constellations in the night sky, black bears, loons, moose, wolves howling, snowmobiles, snow shoes, cross country skiing, and you have the world of Seamus McCree. But the isolation is top on the list. This setting works well with his plot because there are times McCree could use help, but the elements are working against him.
Why would a character go to a remote cabin in Michigan? Seamus goes there for peace and quiet after the thrilling, but scary events of his life in Cincinnati in Bad Policy. Now he just desires to be alone and figure out why he can’t keep love alive in his life. He just lost his girlfriend and is skittish about commitments. Part of this isolation comes from his father dying when Seamus was young and his mother turning into an emotionally remote parent. McCree is a problem solver, a very intelligent guy, a former financial examiner, and a great dad. He’s also physically tough when he needs to be. But right now he just wants peace and quiet.
|James Montgomery Jackson|
This is not to be. Into his life comes a naked woman, unconscious on his front porch, in the middle of a blizzard. She is practically frozen, has an erratic heartbeat and shallow breathing, and she is suffering from hypothermia, frostbite, and a high fever. Once conscious, she has amnesia. To make matters worse, she has fresh rope burns on her wrists and ankles. Who is this woman and where did she come from? He can’t leave the cabin to ski for help because she might die while he is gone. He has no cell phone coverage so that won’t work either.
Meanwhile, a crazy paramilitary organization with a smart leader and keystone cop followers is looking for an escaped female prisoner. By the time Seamus does get help, the police suspect him, the paramilitary thugs are after him, and dead bodies begin to pile up.
This is a thriller of a plot with an amazing main character and a setting that works well with the plot and also parallels the inner life of Seamus McCree. I’d highly recommend it for people who love page-turning thrillers.