About this book: Tess Spencer loves her low-key job at the Crystal Mountain Spa, which allows her plenty of down-time with her one-year old daughter and lawyer husband, Thomas. But when a pool installation turns up eight skeletons in the spa’s back yard, Tess becomes entangled in a sleuthing job destined to go awry.
As the investigation gets underway, someone dumps a fresh body near the excavated burial site, confirming unspeakable fears. A serial killer has returned to Buckneck, West Virginia…a skilled hunter with a unique taste in prey. When Tess agrees to help the cunning Detective Tucker gather clues from the inside, she discovers the posh spa hides more than dead bodies. Even as she sifts through layers of deceit, Tess realizes too late that the killer’s sights have zeroed in on her.
Unpredictable psychological mystery replete with memorable characters, Trial by Twelve is Book Two in A Murder in the Mountains series.
About the author: Heather Day Gilbert enjoys writing stories about authentic, believable marriages. Born and raised in the West Virginia mountains, she believes that bittersweet, generational stories are in her blood. A graduate of Bob Jones University, Heather has been married for eighteen years and has three children. Heather’s Viking historical novel, God’s Daughter, was an Amazon Norse Bestseller for an entire year. She is also the author of Miranda Warning, Book One in A Murder in the Mountains Series, and the Indie Publishing Handbook: Four Key Elements for the Self-Publisher. You can find Heather online: website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads
Why I read this book: because I like this gal’s style, and who doesn’t love a good mystery?
First impressions: Evocative cover art and intriguing first pages drew me right into the story.
If this book were a movie, I would rate it: PG
Reminds me of… Port Aster Secrets mystery series by Sandra Orchard.
Will especially appeal to… Christian women who enjoy a compelling mystery with a light spiritual touch.
This story matters because… it lends hope to the promise of justice.
My take: I found Trial by Twelve a delight from start to finish. I reveled in the intricate layering of themes, the deft development of plot, and the light spiritual touch. Having read the first in this series, I especially enjoyed seeing Tess blossom as a wife and mother. The masterful pacing drew me right along, as did the plentiful twists and surprises–including one that actually delivered a chill. All throughout, Heather’s prose remained pitch-perfect, not one word out of place. Reading her work, I got the sense she is confident in her skills–and rightly so.
Writers tend to talk a lot about voice. Like tone, it’s an elusive technique that (I believe) cannot be taught but rather absorbed. It’s an intuitive quality that permeates every page, giving a story its own unique feel, setting it apart from everything else, lifting it out of the ordinary. And Heather’s got it nailed. Her voice is clean, clear, precise, possessing just enough mountain twang to provide a hint of tart.
At only 50,000 words, Trial by Twelve is a wonderfully breezy read, perfect to take along on a short vacation–or anytime. A top-notch work of fiction, it’s the kind of polished novel that raises the bar.
[Tweet “Another unpredictable, pitch-perfect mystery from @HeatherDGilbert #TrialByTwelve @KatherineSJones”]
Thanks to the author for providing me a free copy to review. All opinions are mine.
Giveaway: Heather has generously offered an e-copy of Trial by Twelve to one of my lucky readers. You have only to let me know you were here–by leaving a comment, tweeting, commenting or liking on FB–and you’ll be entered into the drawing.
After words: Were you an Agatha Christie fan? I spent many of teenage hour (and a few in adulthood too) curled up with one of hers. I generally preferred Miss Marple to Poirot. How about you?