Inherit the Bones is Emily Littlejohn's debut novel - and the first book in the Detective Gemma Monroe novels. (I always enjoy getting in on the ground floor a new series!)
Littlejohn opens up the book with a pretty topical crime - clowns. Well, only one clown - found viciously murdered when a travelling circus stops in town. But when the identity of that victim is discovered, old crimes, old cases and old fears are reignited. Two young brothers were abducted and killed years ago in Cedar Valley. Gemma was the one who found those bodies also - deep in the Colorado woods. The killer was never found - but lives on in infamy as The Woodsman.
Gemma is such a great protagonist! Gemma has made her home in the small town of Cedar Valley, Colorado since she was a child and is now part of the police force. I was immediately drawn to her in the first few pages. She's intelligent, determined, no pushover - and six months pregnant. (I had a Fargo moment when I read this.)
Littlejohn has set the stage for the next entries in this series - the settings and descriptions of time and place have given me a solid mental image of the town and surrounding area. Littlejohn makes her home in Colorado - and the details drawn from a personal view add much to the book The supporting cast of characters are well drawn and fleshed out. We get to know the rest of the police force. Finn is the partner forced on Gemma - I enjoyed their banter and struggle to build a functional working relationship. Littlejohn gives Gemma an interesting personal storyline as well. Her partner (and the baby's father) does not make an appearance until the final pages of the book, but we learn of their troubled relationship as the book progresses.
Littlejohn's plotting is quite inventive. There are many suspects to choose from, but she kept me guessing until the last bit of the book. Well done! I really enjoy solving the crime along with the detectives, putting the pieces together as they work through the clues. There's some really great creepy suspense filled scenes as well.
I'm looking forward to seeing what other cases Littlejohn comes up with for Gemma and the Cedar Springs force. And now that Gemma has a child, it will be interesting to see how she handles being a parent with being a detective. Read an excerpt of Inherit the Bones.
And one of my favourite mystery authors has this to say about Inherit the Bones...."
"I couldn't put down Inherit the Bones. Small town Colorado police detective Gemma Monroe is a human and fallible heroine I can't wait to meet again, and Littlejohn's prose is lyrical and gripping - the book is a sure bet for one of the finest debut novels of the year." - Deborah Crombie, author of the Duncan Kincaid/Gemma Jones mystery series
Emily Littlejohn on her website and like her on Facebook.