Mountain of Secrets

A Legacy Thriller

Fiction - Thriller - Psychological
239 Pages
Reviewed on 06/18/2024
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Author Biography

DARCY MCDANIEL is a former hotshot firefighter who now ignites her passion for storytelling from the tranquil landscapes of rural North Central Washington. When she’s not helping her family on their ranch, she’s writing thrillers with a flair for the cowboy lifestyle. With callused hands and a great love for the outdoors, Darcy craves rugged places where trees outnumber people. Follow her writing journey where she seamlessly blends her deep affinity for nature with unpredictable plot twists at

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Mountain of Secrets: A Legacy Thriller is a work of fiction in the psychological suspense, thriller, and interpersonal drama genres. It is best suited to the general adult reading audience as it contains some scenes of graphic violence. Penned by author Darcy McDaniel, this gripping tale is set in western Wyoming, where the LaRae family faces tragedy and a dark, twisted past. Ruth LaRae is left to care for her siblings and their ranch, but their uncovering of long-buried family secrets brings them into conflict with Nate Teague, who seeks vengeance. As they play a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with Teague and other hidden enemies, the LaRaes must decide how far they will go to protect their legacy, testing the strength of their family bond.

Author Darcy McDaniel puts heart and soul into crafting an intense and captivating novel set in the atmospherically harsh landscape of western Wyoming. This aesthetic and moody choice provided a stark, atmospheric backdrop to the LaRae family's struggles right from the start. I loved the way that the raw, visceral qualities of the place paired well with the emotional turmoil and tension of the plot. The tragedy that befalls Ruth, leaving her to care for her siblings and their ranch, immediately drew me into their world with a deep connection to a well-rounded, vivid character. As the LaRaes delve into their family's dark history, the story unfolds with thrilling suspense that is delivered with a great sense of pace and knowing just when to drop the next twist. The introduction of Nate Teague as a vengeful antagonist added a new layer of tension at just the right moment, turning their discovery into a deadly game of cat-and-mouse that raises the stakes well. The escalating body count and lurking enemies kept me on the edge of my seat, wondering how far Ruth and her siblings would go to protect their legacy. The family's bond, tested by secrets and danger, was a poignant theme that resonated throughout the book. Overall, I would certainly recommend Mountain of Secrets as a thrilling, page-turning read for suspense fans everywhere.

Gaius Konstantine

“To the LaRaes, there were no limits because family meant forever.” Mountain Of Secrets: A Legacy Thriller by Darcy McDaniel is a novel that features a quiet and normal family. I am kidding; there is nothing normal about the LaRaes unless you compare them to a family of wolves. And even then, I think I would be more comfortable hanging out with the animals. Sierra, Luke, and Ruth LaRae are horse-riding siblings minding cows and their ranch in Wyoming. A typical day consists of an early breakfast, chores, murder, and dead body disposal. Yes, the people they kill have it coming to them, but this strange trio is not exactly wholesome, and killing folks seems to run in their family. As old and new enemies clash with the LaRaes, we recall that “we can’t have the light without the dark; we choose which prevails.” But at what cost will this choice come? 

Mountain of Secrets by Darcy McDaniel is a thrilling and intense story. It reads like an action-adventure, filled with mayhem, some spiritualism, and moral ambiguity. The plot revolves around three siblings who will stop at nothing to protect each other and what they believe is rightfully theirs. The character development is extensive, featuring a range of fascinating and diverse individuals to both love and hate. The pace is unrelentingly tense, with little respite as the siblings navigate from one crisis to the next in rapid succession. An excellent book for individuals who want a peek at a way of life that focuses on taking care of your own and the law be damned, Mountain Of Secrets exposes the hidden darkness that lives in many of us.

Grant Leishman

Mountain of Secrets by Darcy McDaniel is a novel of generational secrets hidden within one family who have farmed their rugged Wyoming ranch since the mid-1800s across four generations of the LaRae family. The current ranch holders are the three siblings Ruth, Sierra, and Luke LaRae. Orphaned when the trio was just teenagers, they quickly had to come to terms with not only running a ranch in such a harsh and unforgiving country but also dealing with the multitude of secrets each of them knew separately about their history and their forebears’ actions to protect the land and the family from those determined to take it. The discovery of an old cross and a grave in a desolate part of the ranch opens a Pandora’s Box of secrets and feuds that have been going on for generations. Not only must these three young siblings deal with threats from previous generations, they must be prepared to fight for their land and each other from a variety of deadly enemies gunning for them today.

Mountain of Secrets is like taking the very worst and most violent of the old West and transplanting it into a twenty-first-century environment. Author Darcy McDaniel has created three leading characters who epitomize the independent, self-sufficient, and courageous spirit of their forebears. Although Ruth, Sierra, and Luke all have very different dispositions and makeups, they do have many characteristics in common. All three are strong, independent, and willing to fight for what they see as right, no matter how messy or morally ambiguous their actions might seem at times. Their thoughtful introspection from time to time helps to soften the explicit violence that surrounds them. Most important to all three, though, and indeed those that went before them, is preserving their land, their family, and their LaRae legacy in this part of Wyoming. I was amused by the attitude of the local law enforcement in the character of Dirk, who was not only happy to leave retribution to the LaRaes but actively encouraged it. The generational feud between the Teagues and the LaRaes was monumental and brings to mind the classic story of the McCoys and the Hatfields. This is an action-packed novel not for the squeamish but its frenetic pace will keep readers engaged and turning the pages. It’s an excellent one-sitting read and one I highly recommend.

Nino Lobiladze

Mountain of Secrets by Darcy McDaniel, the first book in the Legacy series, will appeal to mature fans of psychological thrillers, crime dramas, and Westerns. After losing their parents to a tragic car accident, Ruth, Sierra, and Luke LaRae tend their family ranch in Wyoming. This land has a rich past inextricably linked to the history of the LaRaes. The secrets buried there emerge as Ruth discovers an old grave. The siblings' attempts to reveal the truth attract the attention of their enemies, old and new. A cartel tries to hunt Ruth down. The LaRaes' formidable foe, Nate Teague, plots something sinister against them. Sierra dreads an inevitable encounter with someone who abused her long ago. Can the LaRaes withstand so many challenges? And what does their land hide?

Mountain of Secrets offers a whirlwind of breathtaking events. Darcy McDaniel creates a concise narrative with interesting characters. The LaRae siblings are tough, and their enemies challenge them at their own risk. The author perfectly describes the strong connection between the generations of LaRaes. The siblings' love for their ancestors and land is almost ethereal, and it is no surprise that Sierra has a supernatural ability. Still very young, Ruth and Sierra have already encountered the ugly side of life. But these strong-willed siblings are not afraid of wild animals or envious, cruel people. Ruth's, Sierra's, and Luke's actions drive a story full of astonishing twists and turns. While some scenes are not for faint-hearted readers, the convincing plotline and beautifully depicted setting make this captivating novel worth reading.

Ronél Steyn

Darcy McDaniel brings us a thrilling crime novel in Mountain of Secrets. The LaRae siblings have been managing the ranch and keeping it in excellent condition since the sudden deaths of their parents ten years ago. For Ruth, Luke, and Sierra, family is everything and they will do whatever it takes to protect it. Each one of them has the strength that is needed to prosper in this lifestyle. With a fierce love for their animals and their ancestry, this trinity is a formidable force. In the height of summer in Wyoming, while moving the cattle to their new grazing pastures, Ruth uses her drone to look for any stragglers. What she finds, however, is a burial marker with writing on it. What follows is a revelation of secrets that span three generations past.

Author Darcy McDaniel has highlighted the world of ranching in this psychological thriller where blood will always be thicker than water, and there is a strong and constant current of the family running through these pages. The plot is set in action from the very start and the truth is revealed in bits and pieces. The hunt for the mystery will pull you into the pages, making it hard to stop reading. This story is filled with sensory stimulation focused on visuals and smells. I loved the array of dishes they made as well as the descriptive scenery. Much emphasis is placed on intuition and a connection with the animals around us. With Mountain of Secrets as the first book in the Legacy series, I look forward to reading what happens next!