Book Review: Trial by Twelve by Heather Day Gilbert

Title: Trial by Twelve
Author: Heather Day Gilbert
Published: May 2015
Genre: Mystery, Christian Fiction
Series: A Murder in the Mountains, Book 2

About the Book (from Goodreads):

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 Thoughts on the Book:

Mystery lovers and fans of Christian fiction take note, Trial by Twelve is one story not to be missed. This second installment in Heather Day Gilbert’s A Murder in the Mountains series delivers a classic amateur sleuthing mystery, populated by fascinating characters in a vivid setting. There’s even a fun Nancy Drew reference, comparing Tess, Charlotte, and Rosemary to amateur sleuth Nancy Drew and her sidekicks George and Bess.

In my review of Miranda Warning (the first title in this series), I already mentioned how much I like the strong and spunky Tess Spencer as heroine, with her dry sense of humor and down-to-earth relatability. But it bears repeating, because this book features that same charming and witty Tess confronting a brand new mystery. Her present tense first person telling has a very personable quality to it, making the reader feel like a friend. And her interactions with her adorable daughter, friends, in-laws, and of course her handsome hubby provide just the right counterpoint to the tension (and danger!!!) accompanying the mystery she’s investigating.

With the discovery of a number of old skeletons and a collection of creepy letters presumed to have been written by the killer, there’s plenty to draw the reader into the mystery. There’s one letter included at the beginning of each of the early chapters, complete with hints that could lead to the identity of the killer. But with plenty of plausible suspects in close proximity, I was kept guessing right along with Tess. And while I did suspect the actual killer, I also suspected about half the people Tess came into contact with, so I can’t really claim to have solved this one. LOL!

I enjoyed reading this mystery from beginning to end, and look forward to accompanying Tess and her friends and family on future sleuthing escapades.

Thank you to the author for providing an advance reader copy free of charge for reviewing.

Quick Links: About the Book | Author’s Web Site

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