An enthralling, atmospheric new novel from Emily Littlejohn, author of acclaimed debut Inherit the Bones, featuring Colorado police officer Gemma Monroe.
It’s Halloween night in Cedar Valley. During the town’s annual festival, Detective Gemma Monroe takes a break from trick or treating with her family to visit an old family friend, retired Judge Caleb Montgomery, at his law office. To Gemma’s surprise, Caleb seems worried—haunted, even—and confides in her that he’s been receiving anonymous threats. Shortly after, as Gemma strolls back to her car, an explosion at Caleb’s office shatters the night.
Reeling from the shock, Gemma and her team begin eliminating suspects and motives, but more keep appearing in their place, and soon another man is killed. Her investigation takes her from a chilling encounter with a convicted murderer at the Belle Vista Penitentiary, to the gilded rooms of the renovated Shotgun Playhouse, where Shakespeare’s cursed play Macbeth is set to open in a few weeks.
Yet most disturbing of all is when Gemma realizes that similar murders have happened before. There is a copycat killer at play, and if Gemma can’t stop him, he’ll carry out his final, deadly act.
In Littlejohn's enjoyable fourth mystery featuring Det. Gemma Monroe (after 2018's Lost Lake), Gemma and her fianc , Brody Sutherland, call on an old friend of hers, Caleb Montgomery, a retired judge who lives in the mountain town of Cedar Valley, Colo. The judge reveals that he's been receiving death threats, and he wants Gemma to investigate. Shortly after their visit, the judge dies in a car bombing, making him the first victim in a string of deaths that seem to have no pattern. Might the murders be related to the sabotage at the newly refurbished Shotgun Playhouse? Or is the reason darker and decades old? As the sins of the town fathers come back to haunt the present Cedar Valley residents, Gemma must find a skilled killer hiding in plain sight. For a cop, she's surprisingly out of touch with local gossip, unaware, for example, that the judge was separated from his wife. Still, Gemma remains a strong lead readers will want to see more of. Smooth prose compensates for the familiar plot.