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Reviewed by Brenda Casto for Readers' Favorite
Miranda Warning by Heather Day Gilbert provides more twists and turns than the winding country roads of West Virginia which is the setting for this suspense-filled, page-turning mystery. Several of the residents of the tiny town of Buckneck, WV, hold more than a few secrets. A suicide that happened forty years ago is a story in itself, but when Tess Spencer's best friend Miranda gets a letter from the deceased woman one can't help but wonder what is going on. Miranda is dating the deceased woman's husband and plans to marry him. Tess isn't going to let any harm come to her friend and decides to check into a few things. Soon though, she finds herself in the middle of a forty-year-old mystery that someone wants left buried. It doesn't take long for the action to rev up and Tess finds herself on the bad end of a few threats herself. Tess wants to get to the bottom of the decades-old lies that surround the mystery she is trying to solve. But the more clues she uncovers the more questions she has. As the web of deceit starts to unravel, Tess finds her own life is on the line.
Miranda Warning is a captivating read that grabs you by the hand and jerks you along for a read that provides more questions than answers as the plot unfolds. Heather Day Gilbert weaves a story that shifts from past to present, and honestly had me wondering a few times whether the past story was being shared by a ghost or a person. It was so well done that I found myself believing the web of deceit that the character wanted everyone to believe. An intricately woven plot kept revealing bits of the puzzle while continuing to build the suspense and danger. On more than one occasion I would think I knew what might be coming next, only to be totally blindsided as the author headed in another direction. As all of the pieces of the mystery fell together, Ms. Gilbert provided one final shocker at the end that felt right, even though it was the last thing I expected. Along with a page-turning plot, I found the characters to be very well fleshed out; it was interesting to learn about Tess and where she came from. Thomas and Tess were perfect for each other; the author certainly captured the realism of marriage, the good and bad, pregnancy hormones and all. I found myself laughing at them on more than one occasion, but honestly, it was endearing to see how the entire Spencer family interacted. More than a few interesting secondary characters kept the plot from lagging. It's always a joy to read a book that takes place in my home state; it was fun to recognize some of the places that she mentioned in her story. The spiritual threads woven into the story had some of the characters questioning their faith, while others find their way back to what they believe. Miranda Warning was a page-turner for me, and I can only hope Heather Day Gilbert is working on the next installment in the Murder in the Mountains Series.