by Sandra Murphy
Details at the end of this review on how to win a copy of Murder off the Beaten Path, along with a link to purchase the book where a portion goes to help support KRL.
As you might remember from Zero Degree Murder (reviewed for KRL), the first book in the series, Gracie is part of the Search and Rescue team who hikes the mountain and more to find victims of accidents, lost hikers and the shouldn’t-be-allowed-out-without-a-keeper clueless outdoorsy wannabes.
The team had gone over the same ground for about the third time, in a search for missing Gina Ramirez, an unlikely runaway. The search has been called off, much to the frustration of the teams, there’s no sign of the girl and going over the same territory won’t change that. There are others who need help.
The next call is about a car gone over the steep side of the mountain. It’s a gruesome scene and they know, a dead driver. It isn’t until she’s at the car, she realizes, she knows the victim. It’s her friend, Jett, from Camp Ponderosa where Gracie has been working of late.
The puzzling thing is, Jett was afraid of the mountain road. She always took the long way around, just to avoid it. Suicide is suggested but Gracie knows that just wasn’t possible. Accident seems unlikely too, so that leaves murder. Of course, Gracie’s in the minority on this theory.
There’s a lot going on at the Camp. Gracie is there to teach climbing techniques to the kids. There’s Eddie, a charmer who drives too fast and lives by his own rules. Serene works in the kitchen and she’s not getting along with her daughter. She was not a fan of Jett’s. Add to that, Gracie’s love life or lack thereof, although Ralph is showing signs of being more than interested, With Gracie’s Mom calling, well, Gracie has more than enough to worry about. Still, she doesn’t have all that many friends and Jett was one of them. She has to find out what happened.
When Gracie falls while getting ropes ready for the kids, it’s an act of sabotage, plain and simple. This only reinforces her idea that Jett was murdered.
The possibility of romance with steady and reliable Ralph or Rob, the exciting rock star, now enlightened, forces Gracie to take a hard look at her own life. The book revolved around the relationship between mothers and daughters. Gracie’s own mother is included as for once, she needs Gracie. Demanding phone calls are her specialty but this time is different.
In the first book, Gracie is wound tight and bottled up, only sure of her friendship with Ralph. She can’t believe Rob would find her interesting. In this second story, she’s able to make friends with Jett. Gradually, she’s opening herself to the possibilities of what her life could be.
A complicated plot, well-layered between Gracie’s personal life and her work, make this book, like the last, an intriguing read, and this time there’s a dog added to the mix. Readers will love Minnie.
To enter to win a copy of Murder off the Beaten Path, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Mallets,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen December 6, 2014. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
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Use this link to purchase a copy of the book & a portion goes to help support KRL: