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~Trial by Twelve is the 2015 Grace Award Winner for Mystery/Romantic Suspense/Thriller/Historical Suspense~

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.

250 pages, Paperback

First published May 1, 2015

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About the author

Heather Day Gilbert

37 books754 followers
Heather Day Gilbert, an RWA Daphne du Maurier Award-winning author and 2-time ECPA Christy Award finalist, enjoys writing contemporary mysteries and Viking historicals. She brings authentic family relationships to the page, and she particularly delights in heroines who take a stand to protect those they love. Avid readers say Heather's realistic characters—no matter what century—feel like best friends. When she's not plotting stories, this native West Virginian can often be found hanging out with her husband and four children, playing video games, or reading Agatha Christie novels.

Find out more at heatherdaygilbert.com.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 103 reviews
Profile Image for Werner.
Author 3 books602 followers
June 30, 2018
Stylistically and in terms of its general tone and vision, this sequel has much in common with the series opener, Miranda Warning, and many of the comments in my review of the latter apply here as well. Even the structure is the same; through much of the book, heroine Tess' first-person, present-tense narration in normal text is supplemented, at the beginnings of the short chapters, by one or more italicized paragraphs from the unsigned and undated letters of a father to his child. As in the first book, we quickly get the idea that the two strands of material will prove to be related. But here, we also quickly form the suspicion that, in reading these letters, we're glimpsing into the insane world of a serial killer.

Pregnant in the first book, Tess is now mom to a roughly year-old toddler. She's gotten back into church, and into a rekindled faith that plays a role in her life, but doesn't overpower the plot of the book. Also, she's finally gotten her concealed carry permit (so her fans don't have to keep worrying about her being arrested :-) ), and she's gotten a Glock of her own, which she packs in a hip holster and generally doesn't leave home without. Back in the work force, she has a new part-time job booking appointments at a fancy spa near Buckneck. It's a position that suits her well --until, in the first chapter, workmen digging for a swimming pool behind the spa unearth what proves to be a veritable boneyard of female skeletons, killed with arrows to their chests. These deaths took place years ago --but then a fresh corpse turns up....

As a rule, I tend not to like the idea of serial-killer fiction (and nonfiction), and normally avoid it. But despite that, I really liked this book --the killings aren't directly described, and there's no wallowing in grisly gore. Although I pegged the killer's identity pretty early on (that's not unusual for me in my mystery reading), there were still questions I hadn't answered, and the denouement managed to pack a surprise. I did find it somewhat dubious that a police detective would involve Tess in his investigation, despite her performance in the earlier book; and even more dubious that an inveterate tobacco-chewer would give up the habit, even temporarily, on the basis that he does here. But these quibbles aside, this was still a quick, enjoyable read, a re-connecting with some of the characters from the first book, and a chance to observe the continuing growth of an engaging protagonist.

(Readers interested in such features will be pleased that the author has shared a recipe for "Cousin Nelma's Banana Pudding" in the back of the book. I haven't tried it, but it actually sounds like it would be pretty tasty, and relatively easy and inexpensive to make.)
Profile Image for Sarita.
1,144 reviews638 followers
October 31, 2016
I really enjoyed this cozy mystery. The first person's point of view was so interesting, due to a interesting main character, Tess. I enjoyed seeing her interactions with her husband and cute little daughter, as well as her friends and family. She is lovable and imperfect, a great "friend to have.

They mystery kept me turning the pages. For the first half of the book, the chapters began with a letter from the serial killer, which gave you some insight into his or her development into the serial killer role. Their was also a number of possible suspects which kept the guesses going. The ending was a bit of an anti-climax for me, not sure why, but after the great build up during the whole story, it fell a bit flat for me.

Definitely recommended to fans of cozy mysteries!
Profile Image for Staci.
1,792 reviews542 followers
March 22, 2022
Enjoyed this second of the series even more than the first one. Good cast of characters and the mystery was plausible and engaging.
Profile Image for Jocelyn Green.
Author 31 books1,323 followers
February 24, 2017
Another page-turner from Heather Day Gilbert! Loved this book just as much as Miranda Warning, if not more. I loved spending more time with characters I'd already grown to love, and meeting new ones, too. The mystery is well-paced, with enough intrigue and drama to keep me guessing to the very end, sprinkled with humor that had me laughing out loud several times. I'm committed now--I'll read every Murder in the Mountains that this author writes!
Profile Image for C.C. Warrens.
Author 13 books302 followers
August 31, 2021
A cozy mystery--just what I needed. And I love that the main character was married. That isn't something I see often, and it was refreshing.
Profile Image for Beth.
783 reviews318 followers
August 12, 2015
I think I just always have a soft spot for the first book in any series - it's hard for a second book to live up to it's predecessor. With Trial by Twelve, I did not have one bit of trouble falling right back into the world and characters that Heather introduced in book one!

Though for me there wasn't as much action, or perhaps the mystery was not as layered as the first book, Heather's strong writing voice and the amazing characterization held my attention the entire time. The mystery actually did keep me guessing, even though for a time I thought I had figured it out. Sometimes I don't know whether to go for the obvious because it's never the obvious, or go for the "out there" option. I went back and forth between this story and love how I was kept wondering until the very end.

And since I already fan-girled over Tess in my first review, I'll try to refrain from doing that here - she's basically my favorite right now, quirky but still realistic. She does push the envelope at times with her sleuthing work, but when she does get into trouble, it's in a realistic way, not in a "too stupid to live" kind of way, if that makes any sense. :)

And because I laughed at this quote, I have to share here:

“My dear husband Thomas has informed me that I can't walk without natural hip action. The more I slow to adjust my walk, the more my hips determine to swing of their own accord.”

And because I found this one to be beautiful and worth re-reading:

“The pale morning sun filters through the forest canopy around us. I imagine my dewy rosebush soaking it up, photosynthesizing like crazy. The coo of a mourning dove echoes, somehow soothing my heart. Sometimes I feel so entangled with the West Virginia seasons, it's like I'm breathing through them.”

I'm so loving this series - looking forward to going on another adventure with Tess!
Profile Image for Kailey.
635 reviews67 followers
September 28, 2022
This book was really good. I really enjoyed it! I had listened to the audiobook version and really enjoyed the narration. I loved this series and wish there were more books!
Profile Image for Joleen.
2,127 reviews1,211 followers
August 24, 2022
To be honest here, I've had this book for a while, but I didn’t read the jacket description or I would have tucked into it earlier. The title reminded me of a depressing jury movie I saw years ago, so I held off reading it.

Well, I have to say, this was NOTHING like that movie! Today I had the whole day to read, and given that I’ve never been disappointed by anything Ms. Gilbert has written, I dove right in. Little did I know, this book follows a book I loved, Miranda Warning.

So fun reuniting with Tess, a character that constantly made me laugh. One of my all time favorite characters.

Axel, the giant of a German florist who just happens to show up when Tess needs him most was another character I loved, returned.

Tess's handsome attorney husband, Thomas, is such a love. When he cried I melted and just wanted to wrap my arms around him.

Charlotte also graced the pages and so did her mother, Amanda, albeit briefly.

But of course, there were a whole host of others lending to the mystery of who the bad guy might be. Ms. Gilbert artfully weaves their stories into the book with just enough information for us to guess — and be wrong. 😁

Being a transplanted Californian to Northeast Tennessee, I love all thing Appalachia now. These people are the best people in the world. I could make out some West Virginia within the pages and found it delightful. “Law...I haven’t seen you in a coon's age". The term, "I swan" must be a Southern original, too. New to me. And the story of how Buckneck got its name... so funny.

In the end, I’m still partial to Amanda Warning, but this was wonderful.
Profile Image for Karin Kaufman.
Author 42 books168 followers
June 22, 2015
With this book, the second in Gilbert’s Murder in the Mountains series, Tess Spencer has become one of my favorite amateur sleuths. She’s real, she’s smart, she’s tough when she needs to be (but also sweet), and she does her stuff in the West Virginia mountains -- a great backdrop for a mystery. And as good as the first book in the series was, this one is even better. Every time I thought I had the mystery figured out, I didn’t. The story, like all good mysteries, kept me guessing until the end. I can’t wait to read the third book in the series!
Profile Image for Val Shaw.
123 reviews1 follower
November 22, 2016
Wish I could give it ten stars!

Oh how I love Tess, her family, friends, and town! I fell in love with them in book 1 and was so pleased to come visit again. Heather is a master at character that you can't let go of. Read all her books, you will love them! I also love that she has Pinterest boards for her books to help visualize everything. I hope there's a book 3!
389 reviews1 follower
September 6, 2021
Another fun mystery by Heather Day Gilbert. I love her characters and can't wait to see what they are up to next!
Profile Image for Judi Haley.
1,095 reviews5 followers
February 8, 2018
This is the 2nd in the series and just as good as the 1st one! This time, Tess is working part-time at a Spa. Her husband, Thomas, is still a struggling lawyer and Tess is once again going to be in the middle of a murder.Miranda is not doing well at the Haven and her daughter, Charlotte and Tess are still great friends.

While the Spa owner is having a pool built behind the Spa, a body has been found. Well, not only one, but eight others spanning years. A serial killer is there in her city. And, if you know Tess, she is going to be in the middle of the murder investigation. When the Dectective asks Tess to help "scout" out the owner and others at the Spa, she has now become the target.

Miranda, Charlotte, and all the lovable characters from the first book are in this one. Andrew is still looking for that "girl", Petey is still being the little detective and protecting Tess. You gotta want a Mother-in-law like Nikki Jo.

I just love these books. Can't wait to read the next one to keep following up with Tess, Thomas and their little girl.
Profile Image for Rosalyn.
1,012 reviews15 followers
March 31, 2017
This story is great! I love the setting, the author makes you feel as though you are there in Buckneck WV, and the characters feel like friends.
The mystery kept the story moving right along, and I had to keep listening-it was very compelling!
If you like Christian mystery/suspense novels, I recommend this one!
110 reviews2 followers
May 19, 2017
Fantastic read

I absolutely loved this book. Just as good as the first one in the series. I'm hoping for more in this series.
Profile Image for Jeanie.
1,201 reviews1 follower
September 15, 2015
Great read!! Each chapter is introduced with the bad guy’s creepy letters to his son or daughter, and the story is highlighted with excellent descriptions of the beautiful town in nestled in the woods mountains in West Virginia where ‘Trial by Twelve’ takes place. Second in the “A Murder in the Mountains” series by Heather Day Gilbert, it can be read as a stand-alone. This novel demonstrates how people of faith can respond to daily, as well as extreme challenges, when keeping one’s eyes on the Lord. Tess Spencer met Detective Tucker as a result of the murders occurring behind the Crystal Mountain Spa where Tess is a part time receptionist/admin assistant. While the excavation was underway to add an outdoor pool, the work crew found a grisly, decades-old burial place of eight skeletons! Almost as proof that those bones were not there by accident, the body of a recently-murdered woman was posed there not long afterwards. Someone has their eye on the spa. That ‘someone’ has killed many times before, and may kill again if Detective Tucker, a top-notch woodsman and hunter, is unable to find the killer in their midst.
Tess and her husband Thomas, a hard-working attorney, have a young daughter, “Mira Brooke”, short for Miranda Brooke, named after one of Tess’ best friends whose health was rapidly failing. Miranda was like a grandmother to Tess.
The spa was shut down until the investigation was done, but Tess was there to answer phones and help the IT guy working on their computers. Tess spoke often with the detective when they were both at the spa. There was much to discuss, especially the clues that the killer purposely left behind to lead them on. Tess’ husband did not want her involved in the investigation, but she did appreciate trying to discover who the murderer was with the camo-clad cop.The suspense grew exponentially as the suspect list multiplied and more women were found murdered.
I like Tess. She began attending church about a year before, a blessing that her husband was thankful for. She was growing in faith and prayer, and read her Bible often. She had once given up on Jesus after events that occurred as a child and young adult, but she said what is true for who have been prodigals – “Jesus never wrote me off.” She’s real; I appreciated her feelings about her faith and her fears, as she echoes what many of we wives might say of husbands: “When he prays, mountains seem to move. When I pray, things tend to get worse. Or – even more unbearably – nothing happens at all.” It was, however, like watching her faith grow even as the worries about the crimes grew.
Tess, Thomas, Nikki Jo, and Charlotte (Miranda’s daughter, Tess’ friend) are very well-defined. I like each of them; they are three dimensional Christians who are like real people who go forward each day in spite of their flaws and scars. The peripheral characters are as defined as necessary for their roles, whether kind, overbearing, or creepy. The killer, whoever he might be, has revealed almost everything about himself – except his name and his son or daughter’s name – through his creepy clues.
The plot is complex and detailed, and very finely taking the reader through the hunt for a serial killer that at once brings the reader taut with suspense, and relaxed as the prayers of the Spencer family are answered and they remain safe. I was beginning to suspect almost everybody, and was surprised to see who the murderer really was – someone I had thought about only briefly then discarded from my ‘list’. This novel is very well-written with characters that I came to care about; I highly recommend this to fans of Heather Day Gilbert, and those who appreciate Christian views and excellent novels of suspense.
With a grateful heart, I received a copy of this book through the “For Readers Only” group at The Book Club Network, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.
Profile Image for Janet Sketchley.
Author 12 books76 followers
April 13, 2015
Despite her troubled past, Tess is thriving in the close-knit Spencer family. She's a feisty, straight-talking (and straight-shooting) wife and mother, trying to supplement the family income. She's not looking for trouble, but trouble finds her – this time in the form of skeletons found buried at the spa where she works. Newer deaths suggest the killer isn't finished yet.

Tess nearly lost her life the last time she investigated a mystery, and with a young daughter, she'd rather stifle her curiosity and stay safe. Unfortunately, her boss needs her on-site, and the investigating detective asks her to be his eyes on the scene. He promises to do all he can to keep her safe – and then advises her to conceal carry a gun just in case.

This is a satisfying novel, where plot, characters and setting blend into a compelling read. Heather Day Gilbert knows how to keep readers turning pages. Tess is one of those rare-to-me characters I'd like to have as a real-life friend.

Most chapters open with a letter from a disturbing man to the child he left behind, who he'd trained in bow-hunting. If the man was the original killer, are the new deaths a second-generation event? His letters refer to Buddhism and various philosophers, but don't let that put you off.

Set in the mountains of West Virginia, Trial by Twelve is a clean read, featuring Tess and her family as Christian characters but without the strong spiritual theme that is sometimes expected in Christian fiction. Here is Tess' most overt thought on faith, comparing herself to her mentor, Miranda:

"I feel so inadequate in the face of her faith, but I know she'd tell me we each grow at our own speed and the point is to be growing." [Kindle location 3072]

And an example of her sense of humour, which means no disrespect to the church prayer chain:

"Quite a few people have police scanners in these parts, to keep up with the local news. It's a lot faster than the newspaper, but maybe not quite as lickety-split as the prayer chain." [Kindle location 3001]

Trial by Twelve is book two in the A Murder in the Mountains series. I'm not sure if it's stronger than book one, Miranda Warning (which I very much enjoyed) or if I feel that way because I'm getting know the characters better. Either way, bring on book three!

Heather Day Gilbert is also the author of the acclaimed Viking historical novel, God's Daughter. A sequel, Forest Child, is in the works. For more about the author and her books, visit http://heatherdaygilbert.com/.

[Advance review copy provided by the author.]
Profile Image for Wendy Huddler.
154 reviews3 followers
November 8, 2017
Heather Gilbert has done it again. Book 2 begins shortly after the second book ended. The mystery was just as thrilling as the Miranda's Warning. You start reading it and you can forget about the rest of your day. You will not want to put it down. The best part is, as with the first book, you cannot figure out who the guilty is. But just keep reading and you will soon find out.
10.5k reviews125 followers
November 10, 2017
Another great, the second in the series of an outstanding read. Skeletons galore and mystery, what else can I ask for. Hopefully there’s more to come.
Profile Image for Alyssa.
571 reviews193 followers
May 6, 2015
{About the 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.

{My Review}

Trial by Twelve is the second book in Heather's Murder in the Mountain's series. The first book Miranda Warning was a favourite last year. So I couldn't wait to read and review Trial by Twelve. Trial by Twelve was one heck of a crazy ride and if your a fan of mysteries then you need to read this series. Tess Spencer ia back for another mystery, a serial killer who keeps dropping bodies and she thinks he is after her next.

Tess Spencer is still living in West Virginia with her husband and loving her job at the Crystal Mountain Spa. The job allows her to be with her daughter and help her husband pay of those darn student loans that so many people are plagued with these days. One day while at work the contruction team was digging to install a pool and during the dig human remains are discovered. The police are called and Detective Tucker along with Tess Spencer is on the case.

Trial by Twelve is an on-the-edge-of-your-seat mystery that you will not want to put down.
Profile Image for Ian.
Author 3 books44 followers
June 8, 2015
This novel took me back to my childhood when I feasted on Agatha Christie's wonderful Hercule Poirot mysteries. Now I typically read more edge-of-your-seat thrillers where the adrenalin is stirring from the very first page. Gilbert's Trial by Twelve simmers with intrigue as we see into the mind of a serial killer as they write letters to their child while seeing first hand the evidence of their handiwork.

Tess Spencer is a great character and I so look forward to watching her develop in future "Mountains" episodes. She has spunk, is intelligent and extremely capable, all the right attributes for an amateur sleuth. Gilbert refreshingly highlights Tess's marriage (to husband Thomas) during the course of these novels as affirming healthy and realistic marriages is an important theme to her as an author. Tess & Thomas both honour each other, even when they don't necessarily agree with the other, and we see a depth of love and understanding that one rarely sees in Christian fiction.

I loved the West Virginia mountains setting and Gilbert brings it alive in the readers mind with powerful description. We meet a cast of interesting and unusual characters that add to the story's adventure and intrigue.

There are moments in the middle of the novel where the tension lags a little but as we draw closer to the conclusion it lifts to fast track us to what I found to be a very surprising ending.

If you enjoy a good mystery excellently written with some loveable and not so likeable characters grab a hold of this series.

I received a complimentary PDF copy of the novel from the author on the premise that I would provide an honest review.
Profile Image for Gwendolyn Gage.
147 reviews25 followers
May 14, 2015
Maybe one out of five books I start proves an engaging read, and for the third time, Heather Gilbert's wonderful characters, dialogue, and prose pulled me into the storyworld as thoroughly as TV crime shows like NCIS or Bones.

The few-and-far-between action scenes puts the story outside my usual preference, but there's something about the author's voice and strong heroine that captures my attention regardless. It's what I love about the author's books--she takes a genre that doesn't usually hold my interest, and defies the odds.

The beginning took a few pages to set up, but by the inciting event at the end of the first chapter, I was grabbing my Kindle to read at every possible moment. The story ptesents some great "red herrings", and I had fun guessing who the killer was. Though I wasn't shocked at the revelation, I hadn't come close to figuring it out. I liked that the killer's journal entries at the beginning of most chapters follows the style of the first book of the series. The killer's talk of Buddhism early on is an insight into his warped reasoning, and doesn't represent the other characters' values or beliefs. On the contrary, the main character and her family hold a Christian worldview, but the novel isn't preachy.

Set in the mountains of West Virginia at a spa where Tess works, this is a cozy mystery for readers who want a case to solve without violence or sex scenes, and appreciate a focus on family. I reccommend reading the first book in the series, "Miranda Warning" before starting "Trial By Twelve". Can't wait for more by Heather Gilbert!
Profile Image for Sharon Paavola.
250 reviews25 followers
June 24, 2015
Take your time and give Trial by Twelve a chance. Each chapter begins with an anonymous letter written by a father to his estranged child. Once you get into it further the pages will fly by. Since I have not read the first book in Heather Day Gilbert's A Murder in the Mountain series I'm assuming the main character, Tess is introduced there, She will entertain you and her family is delightful. One problem though or actually quite a few keep her from her ideal life. She works part time at a high end spa where bones are discovered while an outdoor pool is being installed. She gets pulled into the investigation when more than one human's bones are found. A super sleuth, Detective Tucker is on the case and thinks Tess can help him while she keeps an eye on the spa staff. Her attorney husband is less enthusiastic over her involvement. He's on his way up the ladder and needs her by his side. This book will entertain, provide suspense, and even some humor.

I recommend Trial by Twelve. It's a great summer read or anytime you want a vacation from your life.

I received a copy of Heather Day Gilbert's book through The Book Club Network for my honest review which I have given.
Profile Image for Wade.
678 reviews15 followers
April 7, 2019
“There are times when the evil seems so impenetrable, the wickedness so victorious, you don't even know how to hope. But then the good news bursts in, as impossible to deny as it is to believe.”

Heather Day Gilbert knocks it out of the park again with book 2 in this series. The best part of the series and Heather’s writing is that it is equal parts character driven and mystery; too often, authors focus on one over the other, but I love finding authors that balance the two perfectly. Tess Spencer is as awesome as I remember from book 1, wielding weapons and learning various ways of escape in case she is nabbed by a serial killer. Like I mentioned in Book 1, I love the real and authentic way that Tess and Thomas’ relationship is portrayed. And Thomas’ family is always an enjoyable addition. I had a few inklings of whodunnit, but there were some good surprises to go with it. Looking forward to reading Book 3 at some point, as well as Heather Day Gilbert’s new cozy series featuring Belinda Blake.

Read more of my reviews at: https://wadeurspider01.wixsite.com/we...
Profile Image for Rebecca.
1,907 reviews109 followers
January 24, 2022
"It is better than to be tried by twelve than carried out by six."

Mysteries just have a way of finding Tess Spencer. When a construction crew unearths skeletal remains behind the Crystal Mountain Spa where she is a part time employee, Tess naturally morphs into hyper stealth mode, especially after forensics don't recover just one body, but multiples; women mercilessly murdered by a serial killer with a crossbow. Ugly stuff.

Determined to help the renowned Detective Tucker gather evidence, Tess puts her mind to work, cautiously suspecting many but proving nothing. And then it happens again; women in Buckneck, West Virginia begin to drop like deer, the killer managing to avoid detection, while making it crystal clear that Tess will be next on the victim list.

This light hearted but seriously well plotted mountain mystery is another example of Heather Gilbert's ability to spice a read-to-the-very-end-story with delightfully entertaining characters.
37 reviews1 follower
June 15, 2016
A Wonderful New Find!

I've just finished this second in A Murder in the Mountains series and absolutely have loved both books. There is plenty of humor, love and mystery in Heather Day Gilbert's stories of Tess Spencer, the Glock carrying, crime solving housewife married to Thomas. Thomas's wonderful family rounds out the entertainment to be enjoyed in these books and the Christian threads that run throughout give these books a wholesomeness that is fresh....but don't let that fool you, the whole Spencer family can shoot guns very accurately and will if someone is trying to mess with one of theirs. Set in the West Virginia mountains, the books are packed with good ole Southern charm.....I hope there are more of Tess, Thomas and the Buckneck, WV folks to get to enjoy in my future!
Profile Image for Christina.
Author 24 books99 followers
October 27, 2015
I have a really hard time feeling connected with female characters in novels. They have to be realistically written, or you lose me. Tess Spencer is one of those rare characters that is so full of life, quirks, heart, spunk...she feels real enough that I could pick up the phone and call her to tell her to stop trying to find the killer. (Seriously, I get so worried about her sometimes!) Many of the supporting characters have just enough of both good and bad qualities to leave you doubting who the good guys/bad guys are, and that makes the mystery even more enticing. My only disappointment is that I'm going to have to wait for the next Tess mystery.
Profile Image for Mary.
15 reviews
October 3, 2015
Another wonderful book by Ms. Gilbert! Can't wait for the next one!
Profile Image for Cathe Swanson.
Author 25 books456 followers
March 26, 2017
I read and enjoyed the first book in the Murder in the Mountains series, Miranda Warning, last year, so I had high expectations for this second one. I wasn’t disappointed! Although it is a standalone book, I loved it as a sequel, glad to return to the Appalachian community.
Ms. Gilbert writes some of the most natural, realistic characters I have ever read, especially within the Spencer family. Their relationships feel genuine. I like all of them, but Nikki Jo is my favorite. I want to be that mother-in-law.
The author’s skill with characterization is clear from the start. Tess Spencer is working a part-time job at the beginning of this book, at an upscale spa. Her coworkers are odd, and her boss is unpredictable. When the inevitable body is discovered, an extraordinary law man shows up to solve the problem. Various minor characters come and go, and they are all interesting. And potential villains? Ms. Gilbert is good at dangling red herrings in front of her readers.
Tess’s husband, Thomas, seems more confident and active in this story than in the previous one, which adds depth to their relationship. Tess’s old friend, Axel, shows up in his guardian angel role and disappears again. The narrator of the audiobook does an excellent job of consistently distinguishing the characters.
As in Miranda Warning, Ms. Gilbert weaves the contemporary and historical stories together through a series of old letters, gradually revealing information that changes our perception of the situation and characters, ramping up the tension but not giving away the solution of the mystery until the end of the book. I didn’t guess whodunnit until the end, and there were a few surprises thrown in there.
I liked the book, and I’m looking forward to the next book in the series. The author also has a few other books out, including a Norse series that looks fascinating!
Profile Image for Lumen.
55 reviews
September 15, 2018
Another hit!

Powerful. As usual. We are used to it, by now. :D
Heather built an incredible Buckneck World!
You feel happy to join again, again all the incredible characters from the 1st installment.
And the addition of new characters is very well done. You're close to forget how it was before they came in. ;)

Thrilling, Intense story. Keep you guessing ALL characters. UNTIL THE END. Yes people, you'll question everything, UNTIL THE END. :D

I very much recommand this read. You'll be entertained, on the edge if you seat, wondering the outcome, during the entire read.

Have a good reading session!
Profile Image for Erin Laramore.
644 reviews56 followers
July 11, 2018
This is the second book in the "Murder in the Mountains" series, where amateur sleuth Tess Spencer once again finds herself in a dangerous situation. This time, there is a serial killer in the small town of Buckneck, WV. A mass grave is discovered behind the spa where Tess works and bodies start getting added. Tess gets roped in by the lead detective to be an extra set of eyes and ears around the spa and she once again finds herself in over her head. This was an excellent mystery with fun characters, great dialogue, edge of your seat anticipation, and laugh out loud moments.

While this is the second book in the series, this story can stand on its own. However, I would strongly recommend reading the first book ("Miranda Warning") first as it gives relationship history that helps this story along. This is a fun series that I'm thoroughly enjoying. Can't wait to see what happens next!
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