I really loved Bitter Truth, the second in CJ Carmichael’s Bitter Root Mystery series. The story is set in the small town of Lost Trail and is probably best read as part of the series though there is enough backstory fed into this book to make it work as a stand-alone story too. Amateur sleuth Zac, despatcher at the sheriff’s office is actually much better at investigating than the sheriff. With a nose for things that just don’t quite add up, Zac embarks on a laborious process of digging up little clues and building a case. I like him. He’s one of a handful of characters central to both the town and the story and I love the way that he gently sucks you into his investigation so that all of a sudden you find yourself utterly engrossed and compelled to see if the hunch you’ve developed yourself is the correct one. The plot starts off with an almost gentle pace as neighbours gather to mourn the loss of one of their town stalwarts, but the twists and turns in this story don’t take long to start appearing. Along the way there are enough little red herrings thrown in to make the reader wonder if there really was a murder, and if so whether it was this person or that. Even when it became clear to me who was guilty the reason why kept me reading on to the end.
Bitter Truth – Carmichael When a typical 91-year-old woman dies in her sleep, most people would think nothing of it. In Lost Trails, ranch owner Lacy Stillman is in the healthier than most younger than her, so when she is found in her bed the day after receivine glowing reports during her check up, Zak Waller is instantly suspicious. There are too many people who have something to gain from her death. When he shares his thoughts with childhood friend, Tiff Masterson, she agree to help investigate. Despite his position as dispatcher in the Sheriff's office, Zak has already proven himself to be an astute investigator. Besides, Tiff needs a distraction from her Mom's deteriorating condition and her Aunt's odd behavior. Tiff had hoped to stay in Lost Trails, but circumstances are making her rethink that decision. Full of twists, turns, and shocking secrets, this story kept me guessing until the very end. I loved it and can't wait to see what happens next in Zak and Tiff's lives, especially how they deal with the fallout from the secrets at the end of this story.
There are a lot of secrets in the town of Lost Trails, Montana. But when Lacy Stillman is discovered dead in her bed, Zak Waller, dispatcher for the local Sheriff’s Office, doesn’t believe Lacy died from natural causes like everyone is being told. He sets out to discover the truth and finds a lot more than he expected.
Zak’s friend Tiff Masterson has returned to Lost Trails after a breakup with her boyfriend. She is back living at home and helping her aunt take care of her mother. But it seems someone is trying to force Tiff to leave town again. A family secret is also revealed which surprises everyone in town.
I was fully engaged in this story as soon as I started reading it. There were a lot of twists and turns that took me by surprise. Even though this book can be read as a stand-alone, I would recommend reading Bitter Roots first. It will give you more of a background on all of the characters. If you enjoy a good mystery, I would recommend this book.