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Trial by Twelve

(A Murder in the Mountains #2)

4.47  ·  Rating details ·  339 ratings  ·  93 reviews
~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 sl
Paperback, 284 pages
Published May 2015 by WoodHaven Press
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Average rating 4.47  · 
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 ·  339 ratings  ·  93 reviews

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Jun 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of contemporary mysteries
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 fir ...more
Oct 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
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 k
Jocelyn Green
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! ...more
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 d
Sep 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
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 wi
Karin Kaufman
Jun 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Val Shaw
Nov 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
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!
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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,
Mar 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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!
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.
Sep 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 L ...more
Janet Sketchley
Mar 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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 curiosi
Wendy Huddler
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Nov 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
{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
Apr 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
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 "M
Gwendolyn Gage
May 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Sharon Paavola
Jun 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“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
Feb 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
"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
Jun 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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 th ...more
Oct 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Mary by: Heather Day Gilbert
Another wonderful book by Ms. Gilbert! Can't wait for the next one! ...more
Cathe Swanson
Mar 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
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 mo
Sep 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 t
Erin Laramore
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 charac ...more
Trish Cooper
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
Another great read by Gilbert. I find myself cheering for Tess and her spunk, but then find myself mad at the Spencer men for allowing her to keep heading into danger! I keep wanting to tell her, “It’s not a good idea to do....”😊.
I will say this one surprised me at the end... had some of it figured out but there were a few twists.
Jennifer Summers
Another great book by Heather Day Gilbert

This was a mystery almost until the end. Great job with all the suspects. I really enjoyed this and I love how you included little tid bits here and there about God's love and guidance.
Aly Abell
May 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 1_reviewed
Trial by Twelve by Heather Day Gilbert is a short mystery novel set in the mountains of West Virginia. During an excavation for a swimming pool at a salon and spa, the spa's receptionist Tess Spencer gets swept up in the investigations of human bones discovered at the dig site. Police Detective Zechariah Tucker recruits her to help solve the mystery, which hour by hour is becoming more complicated – and more deadly. It soon becomes apparent that a serial killer may be responsible for the increas ...more
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Christian Book Gi...: Softcover Giveaways 1 9 May 26, 2015 06:17AM  

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Award-winning novelist Heather Day Gilbert enjoys writing 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 Virginia gal can ofte ...more

Other books in the series

A Murder in the Mountains (3 books)
  • Miranda Warning (A Murder in the Mountains, #1)
  • Guilt by Association (Murder in the Mountains #3)

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“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.” 1 likes
“Sometimes I feel so entangled with the West Virginia seasons, it's like I'm breathing through them.” 1 likes
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