Where You Will Die

A Novel

Fiction - Mystery - Sleuth
390 Pages
Reviewed on 10/03/2023
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Keith Mbuya for Readers' Favorite

The small town of Eden Ridge, California, was hit hard by the news of the sudden demise of Ruth Mackenzie, an antique dealer and successful businesswoman. While Eden Ridge PD claimed Ruth had been a victim of a botched burglary, Alan Wright, the leader of a local “spiritual center” and Ruth’s friend, believed it was more than that. The night before her death, Ruth had asked Alan to meet her at her shop the following day, claiming she wanted to give him something extremely rare and valuable that she had kept locked away in a safe at the shop. Alan turned up the next day, only to find a murdered Ruth, her safe open and empty. Apparently, Ruth’s daughter Anna and her husband Cesar were against Ruth’s decision to gift Alan, who they thought of as a con artist, whatever she kept in the safe. Could they be behind the murder? Alan sets out to dig deeper into the mystery with help from The Little Red Hens, Ruth’s sister group, and Jewel, the editor of a local newspaper. Will Eden Ridge PD or Alan’s group nab Ruth’s killer and the thief of the items in the safe? Find out in Craig Allen Heath’s Where You Will Die.

This whodunnit will take you on a wild hunt for the ultimate truth amid half-clues and half-truths. If you are looking for a mystery murder novel whose plot is anchored in a gripping tale of small-town gossip, family feuds, paranoid detectives, shady religious leaders, charismatic spiritual non-religious leaders, and sisterhood drama, among so much more, you will love Craig Allen Heath’s Where You Will Die. Craig had me hooked from the start, spinning a hard-to-piece-together puzzle of mystery that boasted an intriguing plot. Just when I thought I knew who the perpetrator was, the action would quickly pick up pace in another direction, leaving me adding a pile of questions to the already growing pile of questions I had. The evocative depictions and the full-of-life cast colorfully brought Eden Ridge to life. Craig outlined their complex traits and emotions, making them authentic and easy to connect to. I found the Red Hens hilarious and reveled in their scenes. This book felt like I was watching a contemporary Hollywood mystery murder comedy movie.

Alma Boucher

Where You Will Die is a murder mystery by Craig Allen Heath. After his wife's tragic passing left him inconsolable for two years, Alan Wright retired to Eden Ridge, tucked away in the mountain pines, to recuperate. People in Eden Ridge, California, still have a negative opinion of the young minister who moved there to start his House of the Universal Message at Ruth MacKenzie's suggestion. When Alan visits Ruth's antique store to pick up the surprise gift she had promised him, he finds Ruth murdered. Much to the annoyance of the local police chief, Allan felt that he owed it to Ruth to look into her murder. The Little Red Hens, Ruth's organization of civic-minded females, decides to help Alan. As he searches for Ruth's killer, Alan must deal with mockery, an arrest, and his issues.

Where You Will Die was captivating and interesting. Craig Allen Heath created an engaging page-turner with death, grief, and friendship as themes. The story was set in Eden Ridge, a charming mountain town with a community that had its own mindset. It was an easy read with surprises around every corner, and the chapters flowed into each other. All the twists and turns had me guessing until the end. The characters were well-developed and interesting. I got to know them better, and they will be hard to forget. My favorite character is Alan. Even though many had rejected him, he was trying to get past his tragedy while advocating for the residents of Eden Ridge. The story is beautifully written and is compelling and gratifying.

Tracy Traynor

Where You Will Die by Craig Allen Heath is a small-town, very enjoyable, cozy crime novel. Still hurting over the tragic death of his wife, Alan Wright makes the life-altering decision to up-sticks and move to the sleepy hills of Eden Ridge. He’s been asked to move there by Ruth Mackenzie, the affable, effervescent owner of Ruth’s Reveries antique store, who’s been following his teachings online. Little did he know that their friendship would lead to her untimely demise. Ruth’s murder is connected to a mysterious gift she planned to give Alan. With a plethora of suspects, namely people who dislike his unChristian teachings, and a smaller list of people who would like to get their hands on the mystery gift, Alan is determined to do all he can to catch the murderer.

I thoroughly enjoyed this amateur sleuth mystery. Craig Allen Heath has taken the care and time to fully flesh out all his characters but especially the lead role and he creates a highly nuanced personality in Alan. Alan is already interesting, due to his beliefs in naturism and Buddhism, but added to that, he is a man who wears a clerical collar and a kilt (and he’s not Scottish!) and you will understand he is someone interesting and confident with who he is. Not only is the protagonist real and likable but the supporting cast (including the antagonists) are rich in character and very memorable. The setting is also beautifully described in lush detail and painted colorfully to add to the piquancy of this cozy mystery. The plot is easy to follow, but not predictable. The older, feisty ladies of The Little Red Hens Club fill the pages with endless chuckles and help turn Where You Will Die into an unputdownable whodunit!