First to Find by Morgan C. Talbot traces the journey of Margarita Williams, a girl who escaped death at a young age. But, it seems death is not so easily thwarted as it keeps cropping up in Margarita's life through the people she loves. The latest victim is Graham, a fellow geocacher. What at first appears to be an accident of the trade (more on this later), Margarita soon discovers that Graham was murdered. Death, once again, takes a heavy toll on her life.
Using her "mad skills" as a geocacher, Margarita makes it her quest to find Graham's killer. However, death has other plans for Margarita and her GPS wielding group; it sneaks in to steal their breath one caching adventure at a time.
The best plot twist is the involvement of Bindi, her quirky Australian roommate with a keen sense of smell. Consumed by her own turmoil and adventure, the two girls find themselves intertwined in key moments and the question is posed - are there two mysteries to solve, or a deftly woven plot for the ladies?
As Margarita works to solve the puzzle of death, she finds he is far too close to her life; almost as close as he was many years ago.
First to Find was an interesting read for me. I had no idea what geocaching was until I did some research on this outdoorsy event. Geocaching is hunting down hidden objects via clues and GPS. Most participants have both a real name and a "handle" they use online. The title of the novel comes from the idea of the "first person to find" the hidden treasure. At the time of finding, the geocacher unveils the item and signs their name into the log book as the "first to find." I think the title is a solid play on words for finding a hidden item, and finding a dead body. The only catch is, you don't want to be the first one on a murder scene.
Geocaching skills provide the backdrop for the lay detective skills of the protagonist, Margarita Williams. She is accustomed to utilizing keen puzzle solving skills to find the geocaches and puts these to good use in searching for her friends killer.
The plot is solid with enough suspense to keep forward momentum, but not enough to keep a reader at a run. It is more like a light jog. Unfortunately, I never felt truly connected to the story or the characters. I thought that the first death was too quick and I didn't know enough about the dead body to truly be involved in solving his mysterious depart from the living world.
The protagonist felt a bit flat to me, but I found the details of her sidekick character Bindi much more well-drawn and lifelike. I wanted to like Margarita, but I found myself annoyed with her from time to time.
Overall, I'd give this read 3 out of 5 stars. While a person unfamiliar with geocaching can still easily follow the plot, I find using such a particular "sport" limits the audience. Without knowledge of the skills required to participate in such an adventure, the reader is sometimes at a loss for just how Margarita was able to "figure that out."
The book is complete at 216 pages and published by Red Adept Publishing. An advanced copy was provided to me in exchange for an honest and professional review.
Morgan C. Talbot is an outdoorsy kind of gal. She has a dual degree in both English and Jujitsu. She enjoys hiking and camping, as well as, writing and geocaching. She reads to her children and enjoys nature photography. She resides in Eastern Washington with her family.
First to Find is book one in the Caching Out series. If you enjoy an outdoorsy adventure, be on the look out for book two.
This novel can be purchased at the following links:
Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/
In addition to purchasing the book via the above links, don't miss out on the great contest hosted by Red Adept Publishing:
a Rafflecopter giveaway