Genres: Mystery Romance, Romantic Suspense
Published by Tule Publishing
Released on February 16. 2018
After meeting the main characters and the Bitter Root community along with a twisting murder mystery, I was primed and ready to keep going with the series and enjoy further developments in the lives, loves, secrets, and yes, another murder in small town Montana.
Bitter Truth is book two of the Bitter Root series. A reader could pick it up out of order, but it reads best after the first book because of the ongoing personal and romantic story lines introduced in Bitter Roots.
The story begins with the death of Lacy Stillman, a large ranch owner in the community. The Stillmans are shook by Lacy’s surprising will and how it complicates matters. Their lawyer, Justin Pittman, is undergoing his own crisis after his wife deserted him and his newly adopted daughter right when he learns his cancer is back. Tiff is still feeling unsettled about coming home and where things stand with her new love interest when her aunt starts acting strange and her mother’s mental health deteriorates. Meanwhile, Zach is not convinced Lacy’s death was an accident. Little things don’t add up and the sheriff isn’t planning to pursue them so he is forced to play amateur detective once again while also trying to figure out what happened to cause Nadine to back away when he thought they were finally getting a chance.
So, the author has written a full plot with three different narrators and their separate storylines that cross paths and occasionally come together. Because of this, like the first book, it can take a while for the plot to move forward at times. I was ready for the strong character driven gentle pacing and enjoy how it is a bit of everything as a result- fiction, romance, and suspense.
This is the story of a town because of all the storylines and characters and I enjoy that. It is also the story of the three people around the same age dealing with personal issues, family, and love. Tiff has to figure out where she belongs and if she is ready to try out a relationship again after the last disaster. Zach needs to work through letting his past dictate his future which means not hiding behind the dispatcher desk and maybe try for a deputy job that suits him better and also work harder at what he has with Nadine. Justin’s story breaks my heart a little. He just wanted a family of his own and a child. His wife loves someone else and wants to jetset around the world with the guy so came back to marry then leave him, but at least he has a child. He fought cancer alone the first time to protect his dad from worry, but now it came back and worse so he has to tell his dad and his daughter while worrying what will happen if a stem cell donor can’t be found. He’s also found a nice woman and her daughter who he enjoys being around, but he’s still married and has no guarantees beyond a year left.
Now, the mystery turns out to be not so straight forward because it turns out there are three mysteries. Tiff is confused by what is going on with her aunt and what she is hiding while Zach is working at a death that he feels was a murder, but has no actual proof yet. And, then a woman goes missing. The twists and suspense were great when they built to the surprise ending. Well, I worked out the big shockers based on a few curious points earlier in the book, but I still had a great time seeing that I was right and how that all fell out.
So, this second book in the series was fabulous if a bit slow to get rolling at first. Those who want a cozy mystery paired with a romantic suspense should definitely check out this series.
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