Updated: Aug 25, 2022
Title: Sweet Cold of Winter
Series: Ashkettle Boys
Author: A.M. Goetz
Published: February 22, 2019
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Synopsis from Goodreads:
Small towns hide big secrets.
When tourists discover the body of seasoned hiker James Fremont at the bottom of Scarface Mountain Trail, Sheriff Jacob Knight immediately suspects foul play. Fremont died with an engagement ring in his pocket and enough supplies to last two people for several days, yet there's no evidence of a woman at his abandoned campsite.
Worse -- Fremont's girlfriend, local cougar Denise Langerkamp -- won't admit they were ever a couple.
Denise has already moved on, her next target a scarred young man named Dack Ashkettle.
From the moment he first meets her, Dack is certain he loves Denise, but he's about to find out -- sometimes, loving the wrong woman can be murder.
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I'm so glad to finally get my hands on the last installment of the Ashkettle Boys series, Sweet Cold of Winter, on my kindle.
I've been looking forward to it ever since I finished Shaw's Obsession, and picked it up as soon as I finished a semester from my program.
For some reason, there is just something about wintery covers that intrigues me to a book, so it was a big bonus for me to see a wintery cover on an Ashkettle Boys book.
The last installment of the Ashkettle Boys series, Sweet Cold of Winter, was a book that intrigued me from beginning to end, as it followed the youngest Ashkettle still opening his eyes to the world and his experience with falling in love with the wrong woman...
Like Shaw's Obsession, Sweet Cold of Winter was a book that took me through a rollercoaster of emotions. I felt happy, angry, frustrated, excited, and almost cried...
I got hooked right from the first page as it opens with some tension between a couple at a campground. Between a man named James Fremont and the snake, Denise Langerkamp, and how she ended up murdering him by pushing him off the cliff...
While the sheriff, Jacob Knight, tries to solve the murder of James Fremont, whose body was found at the bottom of Scarface Mountain Trail, the youngest Ashkettle, Dack, is still in a coma back at their old hometown...
As usual, I loved the Ashkettle Boys' love and loyalty towards each other. I loved how Sonny and Bo were unwilling to give up on their younger brother; definitely the Ashkettles I know! I also loved the humor and banters between them throughout the book.
One of my favorites that kind of made me crack up:
(Between Dack and Bo, after Dack woke up from his coma)
"I know. It's cool, man. You go ahead and cry if you need to. Doc said it'd take you a while to start feeling like yourself again."
"Feel like... a... big... baby."
"Yeah? Well I'm off diaper-duty, dude. So don't get no ideas."
That was a great humor that lights a reader up after a serious situation.
Despite feeling happy and relieved that Dack survived his coma, I was feeling uneasy as, from my experience reading the Ashkettle Boys, whenever a trouble is resolved, a new trouble always comes up for them. They are boys who seem to always be targeted!
In Sweet Cold of Winter, that new trouble was Denise Langerkamp, as she approaches the youngest Ashkettle and starts taking advantage of the scarred young man, who's been through a lot.
As Dack falls in love with Denise the more he spent time with her, throughout most of the book, I've been wanting to reach into the pages and slap sense out of him to let him know that he's about to throw himself into another danger, and anxious for him to wake up soon! Sweet Cold of Winter has been one of those books, where you, as the reader, know something the character doesn't and you feel like slapping sense out of them, which, obviously, felt frustrating.
Throughout most of the book, I've also been cheering Bo, who was totally alert on who Denise really was and many times, tried to warn his younger brother against her.
More than anything, I've really been disgusted by this dirty woman and hoped with all my heart that she would get what she deserved.
Will Dack ever open his eyes and see who Denise really is? You'll have to read it to find out!
Finally, as soon as I finished reading it, I've instantly debated on a four or five stars, and finally decided on a four after much thinking.
While I really loved and enjoyed Sweet Cold of Winter, there were some minor issues I had with it. For instance, there were times when I felt like Dack, my favourite Ashkettle since the first book, was acting like a spoiled brat, which I felt was a bit out of character from him.
Also, again, like in Shaw's Obsession, Spoiler! we never got to know whether Merle was actually Dack's father or not. End Spoiler! I was expecting to find out in this book after the idea was left unconfirmed in Shaw's Obsession, but it was never mentioned again as though the idea never existed.
And about the ending - Spoiler! Wasn't Denise already supposed to be dead while Sonny was unconscious? End Spoiler!
Overall, the last book of the Ashkettle Boys series, Sweet Cold of Winter, was a great, intriguing read that teaches us something very important.
Be careful who you trust.
I will miss the Ashkettle Boys so much. 😭
Will eventually reread the series sometime in the near future though. :')