Review: ‘Dangerous Developments’ mystery pays homage to Lake Tahoe

Autumn Whitney

A day of fun on the mountain turns into a deadly plot filled with kidnappings, mystery and a race against the clock in local author Jennifer Quashnick’s newest Mountaingirl Mysteries novel, “Sierra Nevada Dangerous Developments.”

The third installment in the series debuted on Saturday, Dec. 16, and the action-packed story is filled with suspense and non-stop surprises as heroine Rachel Winters must hunt down the culprits who are after her and her closest friends.

Fresh off a few days of snowfall, Winters receives an assignment to shoot scenic photos of iconic spots in the Tahoe Basin — but she runs into a man with a sinister plan along the way. While escaping, she gets into an accident that leaves her with a concussion — and the rest of the story largely involves watching the Type A, can’t-stand-by feminist recover from the injury while uncovering details about the convoluted plot from the safety of her couch.

It turns out there might be more than just one group after Winters, who in addition to being an avid skier is also an environmental scientist trying to halt a developmental project on North Shore. When two of the people closest to her disappear, it’s up to her to decipher the mystery shrouding who’s behind it all, and why.

The story starts off strong and full of action — it’s difficult to put the book down due to the short chapters and the onslaught of events that occurs in the first quarter of the narrative. It slows down, but only briefly: The final two-thirds of the book seems to come at a breakneck speed.

While the storytelling structure keeps the reader on the edge of his/her seat — narration rotates through vantage points from a mix of characters — the selection becomes too large, and it can be overwhelming at times to keep track of which characters belong with which setting and plotline.

Apart from the handful of narrators making the events somewhat hard to follow, and the random corny dialogue sprinkled throughout the story, “Dangerous Developments” is a well-written page-turner from someone who clearly has a grasp on the current South Shore scene.

With references to the smattering of potholes, politics divided over vacation home rentals and even a storm that strongly resembles what has become known as Snowpocalypse 2017, Quashnick uses the hot-button issues of the local community in her newest creation.

Despite the tendency to obsess over minute details and the fact that at 249 pages it’s a lot to keep track of, “Dangerous Developments” is sure to be a treat for locals, who will appreciate the attention paid to South Lake Tahoe.

The book is available for purchase through Quashnick’s website,, and via Amazon.

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