Book Review: The Grave Soul by Ellen Hart

The Grave SoulThe Grave Soul
A Jane Lawless Mystery #23
Ellen Hart
Minotaur Books, October 2015
ISBN: 978-1-250-04770-0

Guthrie Hewitt is in love and on the verge of asking Kira Adler to marry him. At his first meeting with her family, he asks a couple innocent questions about Kira’s dead mother and sister that brings on an unexpected reaction. Then he overhears a comment that leads him to suspect there’s some past criminal business—business Kira knows nothing about. Worse, out-of-the-blue, Kira returns to her family home and suddenly has no time to explain her absence or tell him what’s going on. Determined to get to the bottom of her secretive actions, Guthrie hires restaurateur and P.I. Jane Lawless to discover Kira’s family secrets.

This story has a convoluted plot that will keep you wondering straight through to the end. Are the people Jane is pursuing guilty of murder or are they simply trying to bury the sadness of two accidental deaths? When Jane takes a job with Kira’s father, he seems just another man trying to make a go of his business, but is he?

Then Jane is beaten, concussed, and her memory of who she is and what she’s doing in this stormy Wisconsin town destroyed. It takes all of her many friends and her own determination to answer not only Guthrie’s questions, but her own.

Characterization is apparently one of author Ellen Hart’s strongest talents. I found every character to be well fleshed out and interesting, both the good and the bad. If I had any problem with the story it was that Kira’s secrecy with Guthrie seemed a little odd. But then, where would the mystery be without it?

Reviewed by Carol Crigger, December 2015.
Author of Three Seconds to Thunder.