Guilt by Association, by Heather Day Gilbert (WoodHaven Press, 2017)
When Tess Spencer reluctantly goes to help her ex-con mother hunt for a new home and a dead body turns up behind her mother’s trailer, she has no choice but to stay and clear her mother’s name – even though she’s afraid her mom might be involved.
Along with the mystery, this is a novel with layers of heart. It exposes the tragedy of the drugs that really do run rampant in the areas where the novel is set – and in so many other parts of North America and the world. It touches briefly on child abuse and foster care.
And it shows Tess, away from home and missing her husband and young daughter, comparing the mother-in-law who mothers her with her biological mother who’s let her down more times than she can count.
Lest that sound like a depressing read, it’s anything but. The mystery is engaging and fast-paced, there are delightfully quirky characters, there are heart-warming moments and hope.
Fans of the series will be pleased and/or intrigued to see Axel again, albeit briefly. We need another Axel story, I think, and more resolution with Tess and her parents.
Heather Day Gilbert is a Grace Award winner and bests-selling author of contemporary mysteries and Viking historicals. Guilt by Association is book 3 in her A Murder in the Mountains series, set in the mountains of West Virginia. For more about the author and her books, visit heatherdaygilbert.com.
[Advance review copy provided by the author.]