So yeah, I’m definitely a fan of this series. And I’m going to assume if you’re reading this review of the third book, you’ve read the previous ones. They are not standalone. If you haven’t, close this page and open Trigger.
I loved all three books, both for the same and for different reasons. The first reason is the two main characters, Kate Morrison and Andy Wyles. They’re both strong women, both much more complicated than they seem at first glance, passionate, driven, flawed, everything I like in a character. The second reason (and there are many others but I won’t list them all) is the atmosphere, the intensity. All three novels have complex, intricate plots, perfectly paced. This third episode, however, differs in a few ways.
The first very smart thing about Troop 18 is that after two novels told from Kate’s point of view, the reader gets to be in Andy’s head. So far, she’s been this sexy, mysterious, brilliant cop, whose courage and smarts are obvious but the reader didn’t get to witness her way of thinking. Andy is the tall and broody type, she’d probably qualify as an ice queen if we had met her through anyone else’s eyes. Since we’ve got our first glimpse through Kate, who won’t let anyone, let alone an ice queen, intimidate her, we feel the warmth the people she is in contact with don’t often see.
I love the interaction between Andy and Kate, the push and pull, how proud they are of the other’s achievements while rather oblivious of their own, how neither will give up her power but won’t ask the other to give up hers either. They’re equals, from the start and forever, despite their wildly different journeys.
Because this book is told from Andy’s POV, the medical aspect is less dominant than in the first two books. This is a police thriller. It’s more cerebral, less scientific. It’s just as exciting, despite being slower.
Troop 18 picks up forty-six days after the end of Pathogen. Andy can’t stop herself from counting the days since Jack drove Kate away. I’m not a very patient person in many areas but with books, I love watching events unfold and I don’t often want things to hurry (except if the story is badly written but of course that’s not the case here). Yet very soon into Troop 18, I found myself internally hopping up and down. If time felt long for Andy to be separated from Kate, I swear it felt longer for me (I’ll admit that could be my inner drama queen talking).
Anyhow, Andy is going crazy without Kate and welcomes an assignment to try and understand what’s going one with a troop of cadets at the RCMP academy, whose members are so tight-knit the baffled instructors, convinced they’re hiding something, don’t know how to get through to them.
There are no human bombs here, no deadly virus, but the tension is just as high. One of Jessica L. Webb’s strong points is how human her characters (main or secondary) are. It’s impossible not to feel involved in what’s happening with the cadets, not to feel for them. It’s also why Kate and Andy are such great characters. I like a good plot, but I’m very character-driven, and if I can’t relate to the characters in a story, I won’t really care what happens to them. Another reason why I believe writing this book from Andy’s POV was so clever.
While the ending of Pathogen made it clear there was more to tell, this one has a definite sense of finality. I feel sad saying goodbye to Kate and Andy, and I’d love to get more of them, but the series feels complete, satisfyingly so.