*I received a free ARC of this book. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: In the village where “all are welcome and those in need may stay” long-buried secrets keep rising to the surface.
With renovations on the house finally complete, Jayne and Tripp are ready to open their B&B. Villagers and tourists gather for their grand opening barbecue. Close friends check in as their first guests. Aside from a minor glitch or two everything is going to plan … and then someone turns up dead on the side of the road.
Unsure if she’s looking for a murderer or a hit-and-run driver, Jayne jumps headlong into figuring out what happened. Her confidence is shaken, though, when some of the locals point out that the rash of murders started when she arrived in the village, insinuating that she brought the darkness hovering over Whispering Pines.
Now, in the middle of a possible murder investigation, Jayne must clear her own name as well.
With this fourth book in the Whispering Pines series, Shawn McGuire has really got into her stride and found the ‘Pine Time’ rhythm and pace.
The story does stand alone in theory, but I really recommend reading this series in order, as the characters and setting are really lovely and well-developed over the course of the books. Each novel covers an individual case, and contributes a jigsaw piece to the wider mystery of the community’s history, and Hidden Secrets is no exception.
More than that though there is a real heart and warmth here that contribute to a genuine small-community feel. It was great to see Jayne finally find her bearings a bit in her relationships and her position in the town, and I felt that a firmer base gave her more strength and scope in her working life.
There was a bit of a classic Agatha Christie feel to the murder plot which I really enjoyed. I love murder mysteries with a universally hated victim: there is a real guilty pleasure in the whole ‘karma’ aspect of a bad ‘un getting hurt rather than some sweet, unsuspecting innocent. Similarly I really like it when the suspect pool is limited to a small number of close friends/family members so that the investigator really has to dig in with the interviews in order to root out the real feelings and motives.
In this case I confess that I was a little bit puzzled as to how Jayne decided which suspects could be eliminated and why, especially in the early stages of her questioning. It felt as if her usual insistence on protocol and remaining unbiased came under strain and she was perhaps making professional calls based on personal motivations. However this was recognised and addressed by the characters in the storyline, so didn’t cause any credibility issues.
Hidden Secrets is my favourite Whispering Pines book so far: gripping plotline; great character development for Jayne, Tripp, Reed and Morgan; and an intriguing new addition with the introduction of the mysterious River Carr. Fans of cosy mysteries with a paranormal ‘woo woo’ flavour will love this series!
Who paid multiple six figures for a car? We watched as the vehicle backed in next to my tired, twenty-year-old Cherokee – which cost multiple three figures – and a man just as long, dark, and sleek as his car, unfolded from the driver’s seat.
Six foot one, early-thirties, light-brown skin, pale-blue eyes, wavy black hair to the collarbone, shoulders wide enough to take on the weight of the world.
This guy looked like he’d just stepped out of a Dresden Files book. Or maybe he was a dark angel. I half-expected black wings to sprout from his back.
“Who is he?” I asked.
– Shawn McGuire, Hidden Secrets
Hidden Secrets will release on Amazon on 25th June 2018!