The Ursulina

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Pub Date 01 Feb 2022 | Archive Date 14 Mar 2022

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The mythical beast goes by many names. Bigfoot. Sasquatch. Yeti.

In Black Wolf County, he’s called … the Ursulina.

But to Deputy Rebecca Colder, the beast is no myth. A serial killer has taken on the identity of the monster—and with each body left behind, there’s a chilling message written in blood. I am the Ursulina.

In this gripping follow-up novel to his Edgar Award finalist and New York Times bestseller The Deep, Deep Snow, Brian Freeman takes us on Rebecca’s dark journey to reveal the truth about the Ursulina … a journey that ultimately leads to an excruciating choice that will change her life forever.

The mythical beast goes by many names. Bigfoot. Sasquatch. Yeti.

In Black Wolf County, he’s called … the Ursulina.

But to Deputy Rebecca Colder, the beast is no myth. A serial killer has taken on the...

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ISBN 9798200911479
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Average rating from 31 members

Featured Reviews

Well-written story in which the setting is as much a character as the people living and telling the story. The isolation, the cold, the company town, and the myth all contribute to the mystery in the tale told by Rebecca.

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The Ursulina is a follow up and a prequel to Freeman’s 2019 novel, the Deep, Deep Snow, which featured Deputy Sheriff Shelby Lake, who had been abandoned by her mother as an infant and raised by the Sheriff. Here, we get an origins tale told in a narrative to Shelby by her mother, explaining what happened. The stories are thus interconnected, but otherwise entirely separate.

This is the tale of Deputy Rebecca Colder of the Town of Random in Black Wolf County, a small northern Minnesota mining town, a generation earlier when it was not as common for women to serve as deputy sheriffs or to work in the mines. It is a quaint small town where everyone knows each other’s business, but it’s also A town of sexual harassment, domestic violence, marital strife, infidelity, and grudges going back to high school.

And, of course, there’s the legend of the Ursulina, a beast of the woods, seven feet tall, with claws like a giant wolverine, and there have been few sightings of this fell beast. Rebecca though as a child once saw him in the woods and another local made his living making true life documentaries about the beast. Several killings were attributed to the beast with bodies ripped asunder by giant claws till their organs spilled out.

It’s at once a horror movie and a domestic violence take and a murder mystery when Rebecca finds another victim of the Ursulina. The story is about Rebecca, told through her eyes, to her child, Shelby. It will keep you reading right to the end when things go in a direction you’ll probably not anticipate. Well-written, well told, worth reading.

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In Black Wolf County lies the insular mining town of Random where Rebecca Colder works as a young sheriff’s deputy. In the midst of a legal battle against the mine, a grisly murder takes place. A body torn to shreds, "I am the Ursulina" written in blood, exactly like a double murder that occurred several years back. Rebecca must piece together the clues to find a killer before they strike again.

The Ursulina is a thrilling murder mystery which ties into the previous novel The Deep, Deep Snow. After reading the previous novel I was hoping there would be a continuation of Shelby's story. This novel is a prequel or I guess I would call it an origin story of Deputy Shelby Lake (The Deep Deep Snow) in which the novel is told by her mother Rebecca Colder. Random is a mining town, also known for the Ursulina (Big Foot), which is in the middle of a tense legal battle between the mine and the women workers. A grisly murder made to look like an Ursulina attack begins a search for what appears to be a serial killer. There is a lot going on in this novel and there are some sensitive topics involving sexual harassment, rape, abuse, etc. I was excited to discover more about Shelby's mysterious back story and understand her mother Rebecca's motives. This was an exciting novel with a shocking ending that I didn't see coming…a must read!

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The followup to The Deep Deep Snow is intriguing from the Title to the final word. As my favorite author, I have come to sense more of his reveals but he packed this story with quality suspense and emotion that left me with pause and reflection. This book might be his best since his first release and my all-time favorite IMMORAL.

Released as an Audible Original, the narration by January Lavoy is pure perfection!

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Another great book by Brian Freeman. This is a prequel to The Deep, Deep Snow. The book follows Shelby Lake’s (heroine of The Deep, Deep Snow) mom, Rebecca Colder. It is centered around the origins of the ursulina, the mythical beast who roams the woods. While it sounds a little hokey, it isn’t. What you get with The Ursulina, it a gritty murder mystery set in the beautiful Northwoods.

I felt the story started a little slow, but it more than made up for it by the end. Of course this story also contains a patented twist from Mr. Freeman. The twists Mr. Freeman comes up with make all of his books must reads, and The Ursulina is no exception. He also did a great job developing the characters in this book. It was really easy to root for Rebecca, and you really felt like you got to know the main characters. This book was easy to get into, and I found that it was hard to put down once I started reading.

I’m interested to see where Mr. Freeman takes this series from here. I’ll be sure to pick up the next book in the series when it is available.

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Wow! I was not expecting to like this book enough to give it 5 stars. Brian Freeman has never let me down in the past and he sure didn’t this time. Filled with emotion, excitement and a hint of the supernatural,(think Bigfoot), and you have a story that is really an edge of your seat thriller.

Need I say something about the ending? Oh no, I’ll leave that surprise for the reader to discover.

Definitely put this one of your to read list!

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The Ursulina by Brian Freeman grabs you from the start, takes you on a wild ride, then deposits you at a completely unexpected place.

I have to admit that although I have read a few of Freeman's books, and enjoyed them all, I had not really thought about just how good his writing is. This book brought that mistake to an end. I can enjoy a good thriller without exceptional character development as long as they aren't flat. I can also enjoy a mediocre thriller if the characters are so well developed that I am invested. And I can enjoy most any book if the descriptions of scenes give me an immersive feeling. Yet in this book, as well as the others from Freeman, give me a great thriller with great twists, characters I care about and descriptions that make me feel like I am right there. Though obviously not a new writer, he has become a new go-to writer for me.

I think from my discussion in the previous paragraph that you know what I think about the book. I don't do book reports, not since junior high (middle school for those younger than I am), so I'm not going to tell the story or paraphrase the book description. If you like thrillers, crime stories, character-driven stories, and just plain good writing I think you will find plenty here to enjoy.

Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.

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If you haven’t ever read Brian Freeman I highly recommend him. This was one good book. I was afraid the main character was the bad guy. I was so hoping i wasn’t right! A very good book with so much suspense. You know it is a good book when you can’t stop thinking about it.

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This was a spectacular story. Beautifully slow build up to get you all invested in the mystery and in each of the characters' stories. I enjoyed this book from beginning to end, and what an end! I had to read again and again the part where the mystery is revealed because it was so surprising, shocking and unexpected, just the way I like my thrillers!. One of my favorite books ever read. Thank you so much to NetGalley, publisher and author, for allowing me to read this amazing book for free .

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Wow! Just like the first in this series I did not see the ending coming. It is a prequel to the Deep Deep Snow the first Lake book. This is the story of the Ursulina a brutual murderer perhaps creature. One killing happened many years ago but suddenly the Ursulina is back. Detective Rebeca Colder is on the case as she also deals with her own personal crisis with her marriage.
Gripping story
4.5 rounded up.
I was given a copy from Netgalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

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5 Stars!

Monsters get me every time. When I saw the description of The Ursulina by Brian Freeman, I knew I had to read it. This was a Bigfoot novel and I love a good sasquatch story. Except there just seemed to be a different feeling to this novel that had me sensing that I was in for something different than just a monster story. I was right and that turned into a very good thing.

Black Wolf County has its own mythological beast. In other parts of the world, the creature that walks like a human but looks apelike is known as Bigfoot, sasquatch, or yeti. They are often rumored to be true yet no proof of their existence has ever been definitely proven. Yet the people of Black Wolf County know the creature is real. Many have seen evidence of the beast and a chosen few have seen the beast. One thing they all know, though, is that the beast could kill. It had done so in the past when it savagely murdered two local criminals. They know it was the Ursulina since the monster left its message clearly written in the blood of the slain: I am the Ursulina.

Deputy Rebecca Colder was a lifelong resident of Random, MN. She knew the town inside and out. She loved the town but she also knew of its dark side. As a sexual harassment lawsuit against the local mine heated up and an outside attorney comes to town to represent the mine, the tension in the town grew and pranks against the protagonists became more and more common. But when the lead attorney is gruesomely murdered with a familiar message, “I am the Ursulina,” left in his blood, it becomes a race against the clock to solve the murder. Is the Ursulina a mythical beast who is out to protect its town from outsiders who have no interest in the town or its residents or is there something even more sinister at play here? Only Deputy Rebecca Colder can unlock the mystery as she has seen the Ursulina and her life has never been the same since that fateful day.

I honestly had no idea what I was going to find when I started The Ursulina. I knew that Freeman was not a horror writer but then the book started off with Rebecca seeing the creature as a child so I thought that maybe it would go the way of a horror novel. It did not and that turned out to be a good thing. The Ursulina is a mystery thriller of the highest level and one that grabbed my attention right away. Freeman crafts a very sympathetic character in Rebecca Colder and fills the rest of the town in with enough interesting characters to make it seem real. There are some scenes of extreme violence, or at least the aftermath of the violence, that make the quirks of small-town life almost unbearable. When the Ursulina strikes, the reader quickly learns that this is not the first time and that the first murder has gone unsolved. With no easy connection between the two, and with seven years separating them, how could this possibly be the same person? Freeman has an answer to that question and it is one that the reader may not suspect at all.

The Ursulina is a very good mystery with a lot of twists and turns along the way. Freeman is adept at trying to lead the reader in one direction while the truth lies in another but he does leave clues along the way. There is a lot of intrigue in the novel with back and forth between the characters so the reader is kept guessing. As the story nears its conclusion, the twists and turns take on a frantic pace so the ending should come as a surprise to most readers. Freeman brings a lot to this novel and there are several themes that weave throughout the story but he never loses focus on the plot and keeps the story tight. I did not realize this was the second novel of a series but it can be read as a standalone book and it is a very good one at that. I hope to go back and pick up the first novel as The Ursulina was a fresh and entertaining read and one of the most interesting novels I have read in a while. It is not often that I do not want to put a book down but this one gripped me from the outset and never let go. I would definitely give my highest recommendation to fans of thrillers or mystery novels but would also recommend this novel to anyone who is just looking for an interesting story in general. The Ursulina is, quite simply, going to be one of the best novels that I read this year and it is only January 5th as I write this.

I would like to thank Blackstone Publishing and NetGalley for this review copy. The Ursulina is scheduled to be released on February 1, 2022.

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The Ursulina – Brian Freeman

Oh my goodness! I’m still reeling from this one…I don’t even know where to begin!

In the prologue, a l0-year-old girl, who is also narrating the story, has a chance encounter with a creature that she describes as an Ursulina – and it has captivated her since...

Rebecca Colder Todd is the only female deputy in Black Wolf County and as such, she’s assigned to work the night shift on Christmas Eve. As she answers random calls, including a naked resident dancing in 7 degree weather, she reflects to the reader about her tumultuous relationship with her husband Ricky and her growing desire for a divorce. Another call for vandalism comes - the victim, a local copper mine worker, who is involved in a lawsuit against mine owners for sexual harassment. In a town bitterly divided due to the lawsuit, malicious mischief is an ongoing occurrence, and this evening is no different. Shortly thereafter, a call comes in for a missing person – not just any person, but the attorney defending the mine against the harassment lawsuit, Gordon Brink. His wife is unable to locate him anywhere…. Upon Rebecca’s arrival, a quick search of an ‘off limits’ office reveals a murder victim, or what’s left of him, with the words, “I am the Ursulina” written in blood above the bed where he lies, seemingly shredded by claws.

As Rebecca sounds the alarm and other deputies arrive to assist, the reader learns that six years ago, there was a double murder with a similar message left, which at the time brought about unwanted notoriety and the creation of an urban legend of sorts for the town. As the investigation commences, Gordon’s son Jay quickly falls under suspicion – known to have a difficult relationship with his father, and no real alibi – the possibility of a copycat murder seems plausible, but Rebecca isn’t convinced.

Meanwhile, Rebecca’s personal life implodes as she discovers the danger of a whispered lie – and just how jealous, calculating and violent her soon to be ex-husband can be…. Recovering from a brutal assault, Rebecca is sidelined from her police work, but finds solace in another unexpected place…

Soon another murder stuns the small mining town once more, and Rebecca’s old partner asks for her perceptions in what appears to be another Ursulina death – this time the victim is someone well known to the team…

There are just no words I can write that will do this book the proper justice! It is an exceptionally well written and orchestrated nail biter as you flip through the pages hurriedly to see what is going to happen next. Despite subtle clues along the way, I was completely unprepared for the ending, and am still floored a couple of days later, as I struggle to write this review without giving anything away! I was not aware that this is apparently a prequel to a book published last year – easily read as a standalone, however. I’ve been a huge Brian Freeman fan since his first (I believe) book, Immoral, hit the shelves, and he just gets better and better!! Please, please give this one a look – you will NOT be disappointed!!

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The Ursulina is a prequel to the Deep, Deep Snow; yet a story that could not be told first.

The reader may not have grasped what was going on in the first couple of pages, but they catch on quickly. By midway, the story was beginning to lag, but then you realized Brian Freeman was letting you catch your breath, much like the top of the roller-coaster, before all heck breaks loose and you are in for a ride, and a conclusion, you hadn’t anticipated.

Brian Freeman is adept at sudden left turns. In retrospect, the clues might have been there, but he was one step ahead, leading you towards a path well-traveled, knowing all along you were with him one hundred percent and he was going to zing you with your gullibility.

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If you’re looking for a bedtime story, don’t read Brian Freeman’s The Ursulina. If you get to around 95% of the book, and it’s late at night, and you think you can finish in the morning, think again. That’s what I did, and I spent the next 90 minutes tossing and turning. Granted, I told my physical therapist a different story, and much of it was true. But not all. By then I knew the “who”. I just didn’t know all the “how” or the “why.”

The Ursulina is labelled #2 in the Shelby Lake series, and it will probably help to read that first. However, it is actually a prequel. What is the Ursulina? The word means, “little she-bear.” We learn of the creature through our narrator, Rebecca Colder, who lives in a small mining town called Random. The Ursulina is described as a “monster”, a huge, Sasquatch type of creature that made a hufffffff sound when he passed by. Rebecca believed. She had a close encounter as a girl back in 1969 but told no one, ever.

Much of Rebecca’s story is told in letter form to her child, Shelby. She writes of her job as a sheriff’s deputy. Thus, we learn of the horrendous deaths that occurred in Random, all signed “The Ursulina.” Rebecca is the only female deputy. She lives in a town where women are expected to stay home, raise the kids, and love, honor, and obey their husbands. This is true of the few women who work in the mine; it is true of Rebecca and her husband Ricky. All these women experience verbal abuse, and more, in the workplace and sometimes at home.

There are respectable men. Darrell, Rebecca’s deputy partner is one. He’s like a father figure to her. Norm Folz, the lawyer representing the women in a lawsuit against the mine, is another. As usual, Brian Freeman does an excellent job drawing his characters with a wide range of emotions, experiences – and motives.

Not all the characters are likable, male or female. Life in this town takes its toll on folks, and that’s not something that can be blamed on the Ursulina. Sexism, greed, all kinds of dishonesty, battering, hatred, and violence – it’s all there. The monster lives in nearly everyone, it seems.

But not everyone is a murderer.

The revelation was a surprise that took my breath away. I should have seen it coming. After I saw it, it all made sense, even though it didn’t seem 100 percent plausible. But, strangely enough, I understood it, and I could accept it, even though I really wished it had been someone else.

I received a digital copy of The Ursulina as an ARC in exchange for my unbiased review. I wish to thank NetGalley, Blackstone Publishing, and the marvelous Mr. Brian Freeman. Opinions expressed are my own.

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Thank you to the author, Blackstone Publishing and NetGalley, for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This murder mystery with a hint of the paranormal (think "Bigfoot") builds slowly, and draws you into the life and rhythm of the small town it's set in. The (male) author does a fantastic job of writing from the POV of a woman and mother, and I was surprised at how invested I became in the story. Not all the characters are likeable, by a far stretch - there are some real sleazebags in this town, but isn't that the case everywhere? And of course the story raises the question of how much of a monster is within each of us. The final twist is a bit foreseeable, but still written in a way that it hit me unexpectedly. I will look out for more by this author.

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Brian Freeman has quickly become one of my favorite mystery writers and this book did not disappoint! The Ursulina is set in the same remote area as The Deep, Deep Snow, but earlier, in the 1980s. The story’s narrator is Rebecca Colder, a young married police officer. She investigates a grisly murder of a visiting corporate lawyer whose murder is claimed by someone calling themselves the Ursulina, a mythical monstrous beast rumored to roam the wilderness.

I both read the e-book and listened to the audiobook. January LaVoy’s audiobook narration was flawless. I couldn’t stop reading and I desperately wanted to know what happened. I didn’t solve the mysteries, but all of the answers seemed organic and loose ends were tied up well. Too often these days, mysteries rely on shocking twists that don’t make sense. The Ursulina was another well-written and well-plotted story by Brian Freeman.

Thank you Blackstone Publishing and NetGalley for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Brian Freeman's "Can Do No Wrong" title is still safe with this latest book. I have read them all and this is another excellent offering. I have to admit, each time he releases a book that is not part of his Stride, Bolton or Easton series, I do have a moment of brief disappointment. I then pick up the book, begin reading and all is forgotten. He's that good. This one is a prequel to The Deep, Deep Snow. I tried to not find out too much about it other than that going in, as I was already skeptical of the "monster" legend storyline. Trust me, this one has it all! Great characterization, I already liked Shelby from the previous novel, and this one centers on her mother, Rebecca, plus more from Shelby! The atmosphere is excellent also, as I really felt I was in this small mining town. Throw in the usual trademark Brian Freeman twists and turns and WHOO-HOO, you've got one heck of a murder mystery! Do not pass this one up and while you're at it, go back and read everything else this man has written!! Now, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE another Stride, Bolton or Easton entry next!

Thank you to #NetGalley, Brian Freeman and Blackstone Publishing for this ARC.

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Whoa. Just WHOA. I am searching for other titles from this author.
While camping with her father and brother in the woods, Rebecca finds herself approached by The Ursulina - an urban legend in her small Black Wood County town; his breath inches from her face.
Years later, Rebecca is a deputy in the small town, called to the scene of a grisly murder. I am the Ursulina written in blood above the eviscerated remains of a lawyer in town to defend the local mine against a law suit brought by women workers after years of experiencing abuse, assault, sexual harassment.
Years earlier two young men were found with the same words, bodies in the same condition. Could they be linked?
Meanwhile Rebecca deals with her abusive husband, Ricky - desperate to sever ties and stand on her own.
Definitely going to be one of my favorites for 2022.

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Release day today, 2/1/2022 4.5 stars
Firstly, I didn't realize that this was a prequel for The Deep Deep Snow, which I hadn't read. If you read the DDSnow, you know it revolves around the life of Shelby Lake, an abandoned baby girl left at a sheriff's doorstep in Mittel county, hours away from the town of Random, where this takes place. He ends up raising her. This story explains what led to her mother feeling compelled to leave her there one cold and blistery night. It is told in the form of a chronicle, if you will, but in conversation form from mother to daughter, explaining the whole story. As the story unfolds, I found it captivating, and the setting as much a character as the characters.

In this wilderness country of Black Foot County, legend has it that a Big Foot-Sasquatch like monster roamed this area in past years and horrible crimes were committed that were attributed to it. Rebecca saw it once as a child and never told a soul. This is Rebecca's story, mother of Shelby, also in law enforcement, so their lives parallel as Rebecca was unofficially adopted by the town sheriff herself at a point in her life that she had no one and needed a father figure, following in his footsteps into law enforcement, much like her daughter eventually does.

I went into this blind, knowing nothing except there was a monster involved, but I was beyond pleasantly surprised that Mr. Freeman's writing skillfully blended several characters stories, keeping me vested in "just one more chapter" but ended up keeping me up much later than I intended to be, resenting that I needed sleep to meet another day. There are twists you don't expect or see coming, but that shocker near the end really threw me for a loop as my jaw dropped at this unbelievable disclosure, one which warrants a discussion of its own. If you read it, it is likely you won’t easily forget it once you've turned the last page. Disclosure: a few gruesome crime scenes, not for the faint-hearted.

Get your copy today at your favorite retailer. Thanks to the following for the opportunity to read and review this e-galley prior to its hard-copy formal release date. All opinions are my own, and my pleasure to share.

#NetGalley #Blackstone Publishing #The Ursulina

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I would like to thank Netgalley and Blackstone Publishing for an advance copy of The Ursulina, the second novel, albeit a prequel, in the Shelby Lake series, set in the rural Minnesota county of Black Wolf in 1984.

An out of town lawyer is brutally murdered in his temporary office and the words “I am the Ursulina” are written in his blood on the wall. He is not the first victim of the Ursulina, the local name given to the Sasquatch type beast who supposedly roams the forest. Rookie deputy Rebecca Colder forms part of the investigative team and she knows it’s not the Ursulina doing the killing, because she’s seen it.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Ursulina, which is a riveting read, not just for the murder investigation, but also for the setting. The novel takes the form of a letter to her daughter, Shelby, and in it Rebecca tells her tale of a hard life and difficult decisions. I haven’t read the first novel in the series so I don’t know Shelby, but I felt this novel works as a stand-alone and I love the format as it makes everything so personal, adding extra impact to events.

The murder investigation held my attention from start to finish. It obviously wasn’t the Ursulina killing these men, so who was? The answer takes many twists before revealing itself and I was there for all of them, surprised at every turn. Throughout it all Rebecca’s life is front and central, the sexism and misogyny she suffers for doing a “man’s” job, the domestic abuse that seems endemic and the scrabble for money. I think the author has done a tremendous job of describing life in the eighties in a working class town. It struck a chord with me.

This is not a novel for the faint hearted as the violence is visceral and the misogyny blatant. It is, however, also a novel of hope, sacrifice and endurance, in other words the human condition.

The Ursulina is a good read that I have no hesitation in recommending.

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In the follow-up book to " The Deep, Deep Snow", it takes you on Rebecca Colder's journey to find the Ursulina. In Black Wolf County, he is a mythical beast feared by all, and when people begin to be gruesomely murdered, while tied up, and "I am the Ursulina" is written on the wall in blood, the hunt is on.
I love this author's books, and this may be one of my favorites. I actually liked this one more than it's prequel. It kept me on the edge of my seat. A small part of the story was covered in the previous book, but everything was covered in much more depth, so I don't think you would be lost if you hadn't read the prequel. If you love a good thriller, then you will definitely want to check this one out.

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Reading this book took me on a journey that I was not prepared for! The author went right for the jugular and wouldn’t let go! The story line ripped out my heart and soul and I was thrust into a despair so deep leaving me empty and lost!

This is a definite must read! Brian Freeman, I want my soul back! 😊 I truly believe this was your best book by far! Thank you #NetGalley for AC!

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A masterpiece, this was a ride which am unlikely to forget soon. One of the books which I'd love to keep exploring again and again to savour the delightful narrative.A murder mystery with this being hands on one of the top among the endings.
Recommended Read.

Thanks to Netgalley for sharing this book in return for my unbiased feedback

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This story is told by Rebecca mostly through a letter she is writing to her daughter, Shelby. She describes her time as deputy and the gruesome murders blamed on the Ursulina (a Sasquatch-like monster). Rebecca explains to her daughter about the life she lives with her dirtbag husband Ricky and the other shitty men in the small town of Random.

This book grabbed me right away and the ending was not what I expected. Freeman did a fantastic job of creating characters I hated and kept me rooting for Rebecca the whole time. I loved it!

This is a prequel to The Deep Deep Snow which definitely makes sense after I found out half way through 😜 Now I’m running to grab it next!

I received a digital copy of this book as an ARC in exchange of my unbiased opinion. Thank you NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing and of course author Brian Freeman! All opinions expressed are my own

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Wow...what a great story! I really really enjoyed this book and I hardly ever say that. But this one has everything that I love, suspense, mystery, and an endearing tale of love and survival. It makes me want to go gather up Brian Freeman's entire catalog and binge on his books for days.I absolutely recommend this one to any lovers of suspense thrillers!

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By Brian Freeman
Science Fiction

There is a beast on the loose in Black Wolf County called The Ursulina. Deputy Rebeca Colder must find out the truth and stop the killings before anyone else dies, but will she like the answer when she finds it?

With huge twists and turns almost from the beginning. This book will take you on a wild ride from start to finish. I must warn though that it is not for those with a weak stomach as there are very descriptive crime scenes. I would definitely give this book 5 stars. Especially for conspiracy theorists and Science Fiction fans.

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