Ivory Ghosts by Caitlin O’Connell…Blog Tour Stop & Review




In a blockbuster debut thriller brimming with majestic wildlife, village politics, and international intrigue, a chilling quadruple homicide raises the stakes in the battle to save Africa’s elephants.

Still grieving over the tragic death of her fiancé, American wildlife biologist Catherine Sohon leaves South Africa and drives to a remote outpost in northeast Namibia, where she plans to face off against the shadowy forces of corruption and relentless human greed in the fight against elephant poaching. Undercover as a census pilot tracking the local elephant population, she’ll really be collecting evidence on the ruthless ivory traffickers.

But before she even reaches her destination, Catherine stumbles onto a scene of horrifying carnage: three people shot dead in their car, and a fourth nearby—with his brain removed. The slaughter appears to be the handiwork of a Zambian smuggler known as “the witchdoctor,” a figure reviled by activists and poachers alike. Forced to play nice with local officials, Catherine finds herself drawn to the prickly but charismatic Jon Baggs, head of the Ministry of Conservation, whose blustery exterior belies his deep investment in the poaching wars.

Torn between her developing feelings and her unofficial investigation, she takes to the air, only to be grounded by a vicious turf war between competing factions of a black-market operation that reaches far beyond the borders of Africa. With the mortality rate—both human and animal—skyrocketing, Catherine races to intercept a valuable shipment. Now she’s flying blind, and a cunning killer is on the move.


My review:

From the very beginning, Ivory Ghosts was filled with rich description, thoughtfully developed characters, and tons of suspense and mystery.

I loved Catherine, her tenacity and belief in doing what’s right by the people of the village she was living in and the elephants she loved so much. I appreciated her strength in overcoming the loss of her fiancée and her determination in getting to the bottom of the illegal trade happening on her doorstep.

There are many faces to the multi-layered illegal trade storyline and I was truly kept guessing until the very end who the mastermind behind it all was. The players in the game were reveled at a pace that was perfect. Nothing was revealed too early and I really enjoy that in a story as this.

I also really enjoyed that there is a romantic layer that develops between Catherine and one of the gentlemen she is working for. It had an enemies-to-lovers vibe that I enjoyed a lot.

Now, in the copy I received, the author’s note was at the end, after I had finished the story. I loved reading about the author’s background and connection with Africa. It gave me an even greater appreciation for the lush description of the sights, sounds, and smells Catherine experienced in this book. I highly recommend reading it before starting the story and think it will really give the reader a greater connection to the character and the book.

Thank you, Caitlin, for a wonderful read!

4LovesRLBFour Loves


Book Links:

Amazon  |  Goodreads  |  B&N


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About the author:

Dr. Caitlin O’Connell is a Consulting Assistant Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery at Stanford University School of Medicine and a world renowned expert on elephants and vibrotactile sensitivity. She is the author of the internationally acclaimed nonfiction science memoir, The Elephant’s Secret Sense (2007, Free Press), which highlights a novel form of elephant communication as well as their conservation plight. Her narrative nonfiction photo book An Elephant’s Life (2011, Lyons Press) uses a graphic novel approach to revealing subtle and intimate aspects of elephant society. Her co-authored nonfiction children’s book, The Elephant Scientist (2011, Houghton Mifflin Children’s Books) won five awards, including the Robert F. Sibert Honor and Horn Book Honor for 2012. A Baby Elephant In The Wild (2014, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers) is a Junior Library Guild Select and winner of the 2015 NSTA award for Outstanding Science Trade Book for students K-12. Elephant Don: The Politics Of A Pachyderm Posse (University of Chicago Press) comes out May, 2015. Her debut novel, Ivory Ghosts, comes out with Random House, April 7, 2015. O’Connell is the co-founder and CEO of the nonprofit organization, Utopia Scientific (www.utopiascientific.org), dedicated to research and science education. She is also co-director of Triple Helix Productions, with a mandate to develop more accurate science content for the media. She has taught Science Writing for Stanford University and The New York Times Knowledge Network.


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  1. I’m seeing such amazing reviews for this book that I’ve moved it to the top of my TBR list – it looks SO good!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

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