About the book (from the publisher): Secrets and lies can’t stay buried forever in Cedar Valley.
In the summer, hikers and campers pack the small Colorado town’s meadows and fields. And in the winter, skiers and snowboarders take over the mountains. Season by season, year after year, time passes and the lies, like the aspens and evergreens that surround the town, take root and spread deep.
Now, someone has uncovered the lies, and it is his murder that continues a chain of events that began almost forty years ago. Detective Gemma Monroe’s investigation takes her from the seedy grounds of a traveling circus to the powerful homes of those who would control Cedar Valley’s future.
Six months pregnant, with a partner she can’t trust and colleagues who know more than what they’re saying, Gemma tracks a killer who will stop at nothing to keep those secrets buried.
My review: This is author Emily Littlejohn’s debut and what a debut it is! This haunting and riveting mystery is beautifully written.
Gemma Monroe, the protagonist of this murder mystery, is dedicated to her work and haunted by dreams of two young boys from Cedar Valley who went missing many years ago. Monroe found their bones years later, but no one has ever solved the crime. In the present, a traveling circus is in town and a clown has been brutally murdered. The true identity of the man behind the mask sets off a complicated investigation which has far-reaching consequences for the residents of the town and circles back to the tragic murder of the two boys.
Adding another layer to the story, Gemma is pregnant and she is wrestling with the impending birth, as well as her commitment to the baby’s father, who is temporarily away on a job in Alaska.
Littlejohn does it right. She creates the small town of Cedar Valley so vividly that it springs from the page like a movie. She also writes complex and fascinating characters; the mayor, the police chief, Gemma’s partner, the circus performers. Each one is fully drawn, fully realized. As in any small town, there are complicated, decades-long relationships; relationships that hold secrets long hidden.
She knows how to construct a plot that keeps you guessing until the end. I usually can figure out who the ‘bad guy’ is – not this time! And what a pleasure that is!
The atmosphere created by Littlejohn is perfect for this dark and riveting mystery. Days after finishing the novel, the town and its inhabitants have stayed with me.
This is the first book in a series centering on Gemma Monroe. Lucky us! I recommend it highly.
About the author: Emily Littlejohn was born and raised in Southern California and now lives in Colorado. If she’s not reading, writing, or working at the local public library, she’s enjoying the mountains with her husband and her sweet old dog. She has a deep love of horror stories, butter pecan ice cream, and road trips. Inherit the Bones is her first novel.