The Beautiful Risk

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Pub Date 01 Aug 2023 | Archive Date 31 Jul 2023

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Her husband died in a plane crash on Mount Blanc. It was a tragic accident.

These are the simple facts.

Except someone’s not telling the truth . . .

After nine months of sorrow and grief, Junie Lagarde – a brilliant forensic accountant and passionate guitarist – is gradually accepting life without her beloved husband Olivier, a French safety consultant and climate-change expert, whom she lost in a tragic plane accident over Mont Blanc. If only she could have found her loyal hearing-dog Leo, who ran off in the terrifying aftermath of the crash, before she had to return home to America. But then Junie receives an unexpected call from France . . .

Capitaine Philippe Brevard, the man in charge of investigating Olivier’s death, has seen recent CCTV footage which shows Leo being held by a man who closely resembles Olivier . . . right down to his distinctive jacket.

It’s not Olivier. It can’t be . . . can it? But who is the man – and what else is Capitaine Brevard hiding from her? Junie knows she must go to Chamonix, rescue her dog, and uncover the truth . . . but there are those who mean her harm, and soon Junie’s learning dangerous secrets. Secrets that will shake her faith in her closest friends and put more than just her own life in the gravest of danger.

The Beautiful Risk is an intelligent, thought-provoking standalone thriller from internationally bestselling author Lynn Hightower.

It’s a story of grief, of a dangerous mountain with a dark history, of corruption and greed, of ecoterrorism . . . and of a vulnerable woman with hearing loss, an injured dog and a broken heart, who’ll stop at nothing to uncover the truth.

Her husband died in a plane crash on Mount Blanc. It was a tragic accident.

These are the simple facts.

Except someone’s not telling the truth . . .

After nine months of sorrow and grief, Junie Lagarde...

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ISBN 9781448309931
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Average rating from 22 members

Featured Reviews

A little bit suspense and a little bit romance. This book was set in France and I enjoyed the descriptions of the people and the area. There was a lot of technical information that I didn’t understand. But overall I enjoyed the book and would recommend it. I especially loved Leo. He was an amazing dog.

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This sucked me in really quickly and kept me invested the whole time. There was a little bit of repetition, mainly of the dogs injury and the fact that the main character was the most dangerous person in the room because she didn't care if she lived or died. We get it. That's literally my only complaint though.

The book is set in France and did a good job of describing the environment and the locals. I could easily picture the journeys from Metz to Luxembourg and such and it wasn't filled with stereotypes which I liked.

The characters were all well written and complex. They had human emotions and struggles and it was all very relatable and easy to really care what happened to these people

I read this as a thriller but there's also a lot of romance in it which I didn't expect. It did add an extra to the story but I'm not convinced that was terribly realistic, even for the French. Marriage after 4 wks still seems a tad dramatic and for every male character to fall in love with this woman was....... unusual lol. But hey, maybe she was just that amazing.

The thriller, mystery side of the story was really well done though. I loved the twists and turns. The really original plot and the "walk in" element etc was something I'd never come across and love the depth that added. I also loved that the characters often werent just bad, they had motives and reasons to do what they did and it wasn't quite as simple as just being evil. Well, not for everyone.

It has really good writing that's easy to get lost it. The characters struggles and pain are so easy to really get the reader invested and just get caught up in the story and need to know what happens next.

Naturally Leo was an amazing character and made the book 10 times better

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This book has quite a lot packed into a single storyline - there is love, adventure, travel, grief, loss, natural disasters, corporate greed, romance, suspense and eco terrorism, just to name a few of the key themes. And that's without even getting into the issue of the bonds that human beings - heroes and villains alike - can have with animals!

But the truth is, Lynn Hightower does a very good job of weaving these diverse themes into a coherent narrative. Apart from a slight tendency towards repetitiveness that surfaces a couple of times, she has produced a gripping novel that addresses some hot button contemporary issues (such as the blue state-red state divisions in the US) as well as a number of timely concerns e.g. Climate change, fossil fuels, corruption and corporate power.

The result is a compelling novel that delivers a gripping story along with some important insights into grief, love and the human condition. This book is an easy read that I finished within a day.

American Junie Lagarde is devastated after a small plane goes down in a suspicious incident near Mont Blanc, killing her brilliant French husband, engineering consultant Olivier. It also costs her the loss of her service dog Leo, who runs away from the crash site, and has now been missing for nine months.

When Junie is contacted by the French police, informing her that some strange drone footage has emerged, showing a man resembling her husband holding her dog on a rope leash, she doesn't know what to make of it. She is certain
Olivier is dead, so who is this? And why would they have Leo?

As it turns out the truth is far stranger than she could have imagined, including a possible paranormal element involving "walk-ins", whereby a dead person's soul is reported to enter the physical body of a living person who willingly gives up their existence to vacate the aforementioned corporeal vessel.

One of the major highlights of the story is Junie's relationship with her German Shepherd Leo, and the lengths that she will go to in order to find Leo again. In fact, Leo is one of the most important characters in this story, and rightly so!

Feeling that she has nothing left to lose, June is hell-bent on discovering the truth of what happened to Olivier, however painful it may be. And what she finds out, with the help of the French police officer, Captain Brevard, lifts the veil on a complicated set of individuals and the underlying structural factors that come together to create a perfect storm - one with enormous destructive potential to impact any number of lives, unless Junie can identify friend from foe in a race against time...

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Thank you NetGalley and Severn House for the eARC.
This was a thriller with romance, grief, climate change, wonderful descriptions of the French mountains and best of all: Leo the German Sheppard!
It's a rollercoaster of a novel, one I enjoyed immensely. The female protagonist, Junie, is newly widowed and heartbroken and looking for Leo, her beloved dog. If she doesn't find him, she will not want to live anymore.
It's an excellent read and I highly recommend it!

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I have recently gotten into the romantic suspense genre and this book was a good foray. I am currently in France in the mountains so I figured I'd read this while surrounded by the scenery the book is set in. I loved the book and it kept me on the edge of my seat trying to see why Junie's husband was taregetted. My only complaint is Junie's attitude - we get it you have nothing to lose and will do whatever it takes to uncover the truth.

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The riveting suspense and imminent explosive peril was five star for me, as was the originality of the plot. The variety, personalities, motives, descriptions and idiosyncrasies of the characters were distinct. The story was dripping with French culture, tendencies, fabulous small town charm. I soaked up the atmosphere and yearned to experience it for myself. Five stars for setting and ambience in the charming villages at the base of the Alps in southern France. The translate tool got a work out with the many French phrases and words scattered throughout. I enjoyed the beautiful language, some may find it interrupts the flow, didn’t bother me. The hearing service dog and facts regarding his duties were informative, touching and an integral part in the story. He easily stole the lead role. The grief from losing a spouse was rendered with heartbreaking clarity. However, the romantic interest played out quite predictably with extreme haste. I questioned authenticity and didn’t trust the relationship foundation.
The maniacal delusions of one perpetrator bordered in sci-fi, other worldly and just creepy, so I avoided delving into that aspect. Another perpetrator had an intriguing back-story, she was a strong character with relatable intentions. The environmental issues, emissions, fossil fuels, global warming, etc. are critically important, the politics felt heavy handed to me. I read fiction to be entertained and being informed about issues through the storytelling is always a bonus. The protagonist seems to prefer European systems to those of the US. The widow from Kentucky owns a vacation getaway and is driving around France in a Mercedes. Her deceased husband is frequently jetting around for business internationally. They didn’t seem all that concerned with saving the earth. I knocked off a star for the tiresome rant comparing EU and US.
I was not familiar with Ms. Hightower prior to reading this tense novel. I’m anxious to see what she’ll write next. A digital advance reader copy of “The Beautiful Risk” by Lynn Hightower, published by Severn House, was provided by NetGalley. These are always my own honest personal thoughts and opinions given voluntarily without compensation.

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Is Olivier dead? And what about Leo? Junie's French husband Olivier was killed in a plane crash and her beloved hearing dog Leo has gone missing. To be honest, Junie seems more worried and distressed about Leo than about her husband but so be it- she's determined to find him. This blends several elements and is nicely atmospheric (love the details about the French villages). I wasn't totally convinced by Junie but she's interesting. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC, Fast and entertaining.

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This is a compelling thriller set in the mountains of France. Junie has lost her husband in a plane crash, and her dog Leo, who was with him, is missing. When Leo is sighted in the company of a man who resembles her husband, but is not him, Junie heads back to France to find Leo.

This is a unique but interesting thriller that is full of surprises. The main character Junie, has hearing loss, and since I have hearing loss as well I completely identified with that aspect of her character. I loved the idea that Leo was her hearing dog. Leo's bravery and big personality steal the show, of course. The corruption and secrets behind Olivier's death are revealed slowly, and the plot is very complex.

Fans of thrillers, and of course, German Shepherds, will enjoy this book.

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Junie Lagarde suffered the loss of her husband Olivier in a plane crash on Mont Blanc where her service dog Leo also went missing. Nine months later, she's almost given up on ever finding him when she gets a call from an investigator, Capitaine Brevard about drone footage they caught of her dog with an unknown man impersonating her late husband. She travels to Chamonix in an attempt to lure her dog back, but discovers that something more sinister was uncovered about the crash and how it related to her husband's job investigating the Mont Blanc tunnel safety and ecoterrorism.
I love the relationship between Junie and her dog Leo. Her grief throughout the book over her husband was hard to read and she seems at risk all the time from people she considered friends. The story is tense and full of action and surprises. This is my first book by this author and I really enjoyed it.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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This was a really good suspense/thriller read. Loved that it kept you guessing on who was a good person and the bad person. One character I suspected was not what they presented themselves to be, but it was well written to keep you guessing about them. I loved the touch of romance in the story. It seemed very fitting. Definitely recommend. It would be a great book club choice. Would love to read more by this author.

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