Mountain Mystery Series

Mountain Mysteries contain many elements found in cozy mysteries (amateur sleuths, small-town settings, no sex scenes, and profanity kept to a minimum), but they do include adult themes and some violence. I refer to the books in this series as “cozy mysteries with bite.” Each novel stands on its own and includes the following:

  • Unsolved murders haunt peaceful mountain communities, stressing the capabilities of local law enforcement.
  • Hometown heroes surface to track down the killers, often crossing into the path of danger.
  • Clues are sprinkled throughout, but twists keep readers off balance.
  • Crisp, fast-moving chapters provide a suspenseful pace.
  • Great for weekend reads. Novels range 250 to 300 pages in length.
  • Your favorite characters are likely to appear in sequels, creating a mini-series within the Mountain Mystery Series.
  • The stories keep coming! Another Mountain Mystery is just around the corner!

DARK RIVER (A Mountain Mystery #6)

(Emily & James Book #2)  

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Professor Adam Parker, a renowned Civil War historian, disappears from his mountain home while on sabbatical researching lost war treasures. A shattered kitchen window and filaments from a Taser found inside Parker’s home indicate foul play.

Emily Edwards, a strong-willed, gun-toting mountain woman, and James Wolsey, her brave and supportive partner, seek clues to the kidnapping of their close friend. Frustrated with the lack of progress by state and local law enforcement, the young couple launches a parallel investigation into Parker’s disappearance.

Several suspects surface as the search for the 68-year-old professor intensifies, but it’s a race to find lost Civil War gold that leads to the New River and will determine who lives and who dies.

A TOWN IN FEAR (A Mountain Mystery #5)

(Luke Maxwell Book #2)  

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Attorney Luke Maxwell returns in A TOWN IN FEAR to once again risk his life defending the wrongly accused.

Highway construction workers unearth a safe buried near Jill Stevenson’s roadside café. Inside is a man’s decomposed body, a victim of a gunshot to his chest. It’s unclear how long ago the murder occurred, or how the safe ended up buried behind the café.

Jill seeks the counsel of attorney Luke Maxwell after she is summoned for questioning by Sheriff John Harper. She denies all knowledge of the safe and body even though they were uncovered less than twenty yards from her former café and home.

Luke Maxwell has his hands full defending a woman he knows is innocent as evidence pointing to her guilt mounts. But when the construction worker who discovered the body is found murdered, the case explodes, sending Luke down a dark and deadly path.

A Town Divided (A Mountain Mystery #4)

(Luke Maxwell Book #1)

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On a blustery autumn evening, Luke Maxwell leaves his Ridgeview, North Carolina law office to find his elder partner, Glen Perkins, facedown in the parking lot.  He’d been fatally shot in the chest. Other than two 9mm shell casings, the sheriff’s deputies find no clues at the scene.

Perkins had been representing landowners of the historic mountain community in a heated battle against the Department of Transportation. The DOT is seizing property along a proposed highway expansion, connecting the town to larger cities. Rumors circulate that powerful men benefiting from the construction project are behind Glen Perkins’ death.

The investigation takes the first of many turns when the murder weapon is discovered in a construction dumpster two blocks from the crime scene. The gun is registered to Aaron Perkins, Glen’s ne’er-do-well son.

Luke is not convinced of Aaron’s guilt.  Along with Kari Watkins, the firm’s feisty paralegal, they become entangled in Aaron’s defense. Both are determined to find the real killer–unaware of the danger their search will bring.

Fallen from Sight (A Mountain Mystery #3)

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Citizens of Parsons Creek, North Carolina are stunned by the sudden disappearance of one of their own and haunted by the possibility a killer lives among them. 

Sarah Campbell vanishes during a weekend hike.  Her twin sister Beth and her boyfriend Ryan Nelson fear the worst.  Sarah’s grey scarf is all that’s found at Jefferson Peak. Her backpack is discovered 500 feet below the cliff’s edge–but there’s no sign of Sarah. 

Days later, park rangers find the mutilated body of a teenage girl near where Sarah disappeared.  Detective Ozzie Baker follows the trail of the dead teen to a county jail in northeastern Tennessee, and eventually to a human trafficking ring.  Young women are being bailed out of Appalachian county jails never to be heard from again.

Has Sarah fallen victim to human traffickers, or has she simply fallen from sight?

Butcher Road (A Mountain Mystery #2)

(Jack Fowler Book #1)

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Out for an evening walk, Jack Fowler, two years back from a tour in Afghanistan with U.S. Army Special Forces, follows his nose to a body in an abandoned building. The badly decomposed male corpse is unable to be identified. Crime scene investigators can only determine that a single gunshot to the chest was the cause of death.

Given the density of  meth labs and drug dealers in the nearby housing  project of South Mill, it’s assumed drugs played a role in the killing–that is, until a second body is discovered in a similar condition.  Both bodies lacked fingerprints, teeth, or other identifiable features, and both are found in abandoned buildings along Butcher Road.

A typed note found in the pocket of the second victim entangles the Army veteran in the investigation and puts him on a collision course with the killer.

At the River’s Edge (A Mountain Mystery #1)

(Emily & James Book #1)

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Sunset Peak, North Carolina is cursed by murder and captivated by moonshine money.

The unsolved shooting death of Mayor Hank Richards has a five-year curse hovering over the historic mountain community. Townspeople look over their shoulders in fear as neighbor accuses neighbor.

Rumors of buried moonshine money captivate those seeking unearned riches, but haunt Emily Edwards, the strong-willed granddaughter of the purported moonshiner.

Shortly following the murder of Mayor Richards, James Wolsey returns after college to help his mom manage the family’s hardware business. James and Emily are traveling diverse paths when they meet, but quickly align on a common course. If not for obsessed treasure hunters convinced Emily possesses a map, it seems their future together is promising.

The couple’s attempt to dispel rumors of buried treasure leads them to the gravesite of Emily’s ancestor beside the New River. What they uncover at the river’s edge propels them into the path of the mayor’s killer, and unleashes a chain of chilling events that forever changes Sunset Peak.