Child of the Appalachian mountains, Tess Spencer has experienced more than her share of heartache. The Glock-wielding, knife-carrying housewife knows how to survive whatever life throws at her. But when an anonymous warning note shows up in her best friend Miranda’s mailbox — a note written in a dead woman’s handwriting — Tess quickly discovers that ghosts are alive and well in Buckneck, West Virginia. Hot on a cold trail, she must use limited clues and her keen insight into human nature to unmask the killer…or the next victim might be Tess herself. Tinged with the supernatural and overshadowed by the mountains’ lush, protective presence, this twisting psychological mystery is the first in A Murder in the Mountains series.
Heather Day Gilbert writes character-driven novels that go beyond the vows, capturing the triumphs and heartaches unique to married couples. A graduate of Bob Jones University, she’s been married to her sweet Yankee husband for over sixteen years. After ten years of homeschooling and six years of writing, she really doesn’t have many hobbies. Born and raised in the West Virginia mountains, she believes that bittersweet, generational stories are in her blood.
I had already heard a lot of good buzz about Miranda Warning when Heather Day Gilbert contacted me about a possible review. She actually offered copies of two of her novels. My review of God’s Daughter is HERE. The two books could not be more dissimilar — a tale about a 10th century Viking woman and a Southern Gothic mystery set in the mountains of West Virginia. Both are excellent and books I will not hesitate to recommend.
In Miranda Warning, secrets long hidden and lives filled with ghosts make this mystery more than a simple whodunit. Told from the first person perspective of two women, the reader is able to get glimpses of emotions, motivations and actions. And one of the narrators may be unreliable. I loved that. Tess Spenser is a woman with baggage from a childhood with an absent father and a drug-dealing mother. Her phobias and insecurities are lovingly soothed by the big family she has become a part of. Miranda, a woman who was there for Tess in times of need, is her best friend. Miranda now confined to a wheelchair and living in an upscale assisted living center receives a warning about her relationship with an old friend. Tess takes on the investigation, and her intuition and determination make her a formidable character.
Miranda Warning has complex plotting and various interwoven themes — motherhood, family, and abuse. The cast of characters includes the extended Spenser family, Miranda and her daughter and all those involved in the long ago mystery of Rose Campbell’s death. But I never felt overwhelmed by the number of people involved. They were naturally introduced and inserted into the action. The psychological nature of the mystery kept me guessing and pondering. The small town, mountain setting also advanced the plot and provided the necessary atmosphere for a story of ghosts and demons. Heather grabbed my attention from the first page and never let go until the final scene. Miranda Warning is just a great read! And I am happy to report that another book featuring Tess Spenser is in the works. I can’t wait to return to Buckneck, West Virginia! Tess, Thomas, Petey, Nikki Jo and Charlotte have earned a place in my heart, and I am looking forward to more great reading from Heather.
Great for book clubs.
(Thanks to the author for a copy of this book. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)
To purchase this book, click HERE. It is currently $2.99 for Kindle!