Mar 28

Gone to Ground by Brandilyn Collins

Title: Gone to Ground
Author: Brandilyn Collins
Publisher: B & H Publishing Group
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 352
How I Read It: ARC received from the publisher – The views expressed in my review are mine alone and I have received no compensation for these opinions.

Synopsis: Amaryllis, Mississippi, is a scrappy little town of strong backbone and Southern hospitality.  A brick-paved Main Street, a park, and a legendary ghost in the local cemetery are all part of its heritage.  Everybody knows everybody there, and gossip wafts on the breeze.  Its people are friendly, its families tight.  On the surface Amaryllis seems much like the flower for which it’s named – bright and fragrant.

But the Amaryllis flower is poisonous.

In the past three years five unsolved murders have occurred within the town.  All the victims were women, and all were killed in similar fashion in their homes.  And just two nights ago – a sixth murder.

Clearly a killer lives among the good citizens of Amaryllis.  Now three terrified women are sure they know who he is – someone they love.  None is aware of the others’ suspicions.  And each must make the heartrending choice to bring the killer down.

But each woman suspects a different man.

My Review: Every time I read a mystery set in a small town, I feel so bad for that town.  I know that murder is hard on a town no matter what, but it seems unusually harsh when it continues to happen in a small town like this one.

These kinds of settings always make me both sad and nervous, because it’s dreadful when someone from within the town is targeting others who live there.  Although we aren’t really for sure in this story, the assumption is generally that the killer is from within Amaryllis.  Which creates a bunch of problems because the local police department won’t ask for help from the state police, and it can’t be forced upon them because all the murders have taken place in the one town.

The story was pretty interesting in this one, it seemed to have a typical mystery type plot, although I was frustrated at times with the actions of our three main characters, Cherrie Mae, Deena, and Tully.  I guess I have no way of knowing how I would react to something like this in my own life if it happened, but I hope I’d trust the police enough to just hand everything over to them.

I will say that I found the changing perspective, all in first person, kind of confusing.  Each chapter is a different one of the ladies mentioned above, which isn’t so bad when they are working separately, but at some point they join forces.  I kept having to flip back to the beginning of the chapter to figure out which “I” was actually talking.  I think this would have worked a lot better if the story had been written in the third person.

Another thing that bugged me was the continual stressing of the fact that these people have accents, especially the character of Cherrie Mae.  There were several times that I found myself thinking “I get it – THEY’RE SOUTHERN!!!”  Every time Cherrie Mae said “police” or “door” it was written as “police” and “doh”.   I found this to be really distracting and it took away from my enjoyment, making me very glad each time her chapters were over.

It also made me remember how I’m just not a person who is suited to small town life.  I was bored with their lives just reading about them!  It seems to make things that much harder – if you think the killer is someone you know, how can you really feel safe from that person when there’s nowhere to hide?

This isn’t an earth shattering or revealing book, just a nice little mystery to entertain you for a couple of days.  While I didn’t love it, I did appreciate it and think it would make for a lovely summer beach read.

Read this book if: Fans of mysteries will probably enjoy this one, although I felt like it was a little simplistic for a mystery at times.

My Rating: 3/5 – Two thumbs up, fine holiday fun!

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