Ultimate Burden

A JJ Gilbert Mystery

Fiction - Mystery - Sleuth
373 Pages
Reviewed on 01/09/2020
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite

JJ is a photographer. Everywhere she goes, she carries her camera. It’s how she makes her living. But she’s also an amateur sleuth, one with certain psychic abilities. In other words, she’s something of a medium. The spirits help her solve murders, mysteries and find missing people. When attending her mother’s party, she meets Erica, whose teenage daughter Brooke has been missing for several days. The police aren’t taking it seriously, so JJ steps in to help. Not willingly. In fact, when she first meets Erica, she’s besieged by a spiritual presence that at first disturbs her and then becomes a compelling aid in the difficult search that leads JJ, once again, into danger. She’s done this before and those she works with know already how easily JJ can find herself in precarious situations.

Linda M. Williams's mystery novel, Ultimate Burden: A JJ Gilbert Mystery, takes the reader on another adventure with amateur sleuth and sometime medium JJ as she follows a spirit guide to find a missing teenage girl. The plot develops with lots of drama as nefarious deeds intersect with the mystery behind the girl’s disappearance and some backstory detailing JJ’s past medium-assisted sleuthing as well as events in her own life that affected who she is now. Most of the story is told through dialogue, but there are some adequate descriptive passages to help the reader feel a sense of place. The characters are well developed, also mostly through the use of dialogue. This is definitely a book for someone who enjoys a good mystery.

Samantha Gregory

Ultimate Burden: A JJ Gilbert Mystery by Linda M. Williams is part of a series featuring Jordyn or JJ as she prefers to be called, a young woman who has psychic abilities. She is able to speak to spirits and she has visions. During a party at her mother's house, JJ picks up on a spirit attached to a woman called Erica. Her daughter didn't come home and JJ worries that it could be her daughter who is attached to her, but it is not clear. She needs to figure out what is going on and quickly if the girl is still alive. JJ doesn't ask to be bombarded with visions, but she has the ability to help and feels that is what she must do.

Linda M. Williams has written an interesting book in Ultimate Burden: A JJ Gilbert Mystery. I enjoy stories about psychics and though there are plenty of them on the market, I think this one could do quite well as it has strong characters and a good mystery. I understand there are other books that explain how JJ got her gift, but there was enough information in this book to fill in some blanks. The main character is well written and she does want to help people with her gift. I thought the book moved at a good pace and the story kept me entertained. I think it would do well in a paranormal genre too, considering the subject matter, but mystery lovers will enjoy it. I would recommend Ultimate Burden.

Deborah Lloyd

JJ Gilbert is a professional photographer – and a medium – living in Riverside, California. When her mother Patty hosted a going-away party for her boyfriend Frank, JJ felt the tension between them. She detected a spirit around a guest from Patty’s church community, Erica Zeller. Erica informed JJ her 16-year-old daughter Brooke did not come home the previous night. This spirit continued to show up in JJ’s life, giving her clues about where to find Brooke. JJ gave some information to Detective Ballard, with whom she had previous contact. She became involved in the investigation which became more complicated with each passing day. In Ultimate Burden: A JJ Gilbert Mystery, written by Linda M. Williams, a captivating plot unfolds. Not only did JJ discover similarities between Brooke’s life and her own turbulent adolescent years, but she also faced several dangerous situations.

This book is an exciting page-turner, with many thrilling twists and turns in the plot. There are several fascinating characters, including Patty and Frank, the Zeller family, and Brad Wilson, the police officer to whom JJ was assigned. Additionally, JJ’s mediumship gift is a unique contribution to solving the mystery of finding Brooke. While the visions did not give immediate answers, each one’s meanings became clear as the story progressed. Author Linda M. Williams has written an engaging mystery in Ultimate Burden: A JJ Gilbert Mystery. It is the third book of the series, and every reader will want to grab the first two if they have not already done so. An intriguing and fun story!