Inherit the Bones by Emily Littlejohn is a debut novel and the 1st book in the Detective Gemma Monroe series.
In her debut novel Inherit the Bones, author Emily Littlejohn brings us a tale of quaint hometown life interspersed with a decades-old murder revisited by way of a new dead body. Detective Gemma Monroe is tasked with solving this fresh homicide, and she quickly figures out that it is tied to an old unsolved case somehow. It’s her job to decipher the clues, all the while keeping herself and her unborn daughter safe at the same time.
The setting is the gorgeous mountains of Colorado during the summer. It really is a beautiful landscape, and Littlejohn does it justice by allowing us a glimpse into this world. When Gemma stumbles upon a skull during a ski trip a few years ago with her boyfriend, it unearths an old unsolved murder that the town had tried to bury. She begins to have prophetic dreams of the two child victims she has found. In these dreams, she also sees a mysterious, ominous figure—the Woodsman, who was believed to have been the murderer. With no clear leads when the two boys went missing almost forty years ago, the case disappeared into old memories. With Gemma’s discovery, it’s all forced back into everyone’s minds once again.
I really enjoyed her clean writing style.
Our drive took us past the edge of the forest and I watched through the window as the trees streaked by like ghosts, their gangly branches like outstretched arms linked to one another for all time.
And another quote from the book that I loved:
Hope can be a rare thing. I think when you find hope you must embrace it. You must hold it close and you never, ever give up on it.
No fluff necessary; there is a beauty to her prose. Her ability to keep me guessing as to the identity of the murderer also testifies to her talents at spinning a good murder mystery yarn. There were many plot twists, but just the right amount and at just the right times. Between the setting and the wonderfully developed characters, there was a satisfying believability to the story.
I loved the format of allowing us to see little by little through Gemma’s dreams. It was like unraveling a sweater. The many twists and accumulating clues pulled me along, keeping the pages turning.
Although it was still early in the day, thunderclouds, dark as charcoal, filled the horizon like ghostly specters, coming in low and fast over the Rockies. Judging from the speed they were moving, and the strange green-blue tint of the sky behind them, there would be rain by noon.
With the windows down, the moisture in the air hit my lungs like a welcome tonic. The humidity was a nice change from the heat we had experienced all week but as I breathed in the cool air, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of dread. Summer storms have a way of bringing more than rain and wind to town.
The story complimented Littlejohn’s writing style. Both complex and clean at the same time, they work together to leave me thinking of specific passages long after I’ve put the book down.
In the end, life is a series of snowflakes, isn’t it? Each moment is unique and completely separate from the next, with the power to change everything and nothing all at the same time. If you’re lucky, over time those billions of moments add up to a life.
Or they don’t. Some people spend their entire lives seeing the snow without ever seeing the magic in the existence of one snowflake.
This was a strong debut by a talented writer. I highly recommend it, and I look forward to reading more from Littlejohn.
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Amber Keller is a writer who delves into dark, speculative fiction, particularly horror and suspense/thrillers. You can find her work on her Amazon Author Page and she also features many short stories on Diary of a Writer. A member of the Horror Writers Association, she contributes to many websites and eMagazines and you can follow her on Twitter @akeller9.