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{April 2, 2013}   {ARC Review} Music of Ghosts by Sallie Bissell

15862125From Goodreads: Fiddlesticks killed her with his razor. Slit her throat and then forgave her.

Deep in the Appalachian woods stands the old Fiddlesticks cabin, the scene of a bloody double murder from decades past. Now the haunted cabin lures young thrill seekers who hope to hear the killer’s ghostly fiddle music. When a group of college students comes to call, Lisa Wilson–the daughter of a former North Carolina governor–is tragically murdered, and her flesh is mutilated with disturbing symbols.

Pisgah County sheriff Jerry Cochran is in hot water when the ball-busting politician shows up, threatening to tear the county apart in search of his daughter’s killer. But Nick Stratton–the handsome raptor center specialist and Lisa’s boss–is in even hotter water when evidence points to him as the prime suspect. As Nick turns to attorney Mary Crow for help, it’s up to the Pisgah County native to discover the truth. Did Nick do it? Or is there a deranged mountain killer on the loose?

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This mystery novel was a ton of fun to read.  I really enjoyed getting to know all the characters, especially as Bissell deeply fleshed them out for her readers.  This is my first Mary Crow novel, though it’s number five in the series, and what I really enjoyed was that this is a stand alone novel in which we get to know Mary Crow very well, regardless of whether we’ve read the other novels.  While I do love series novels that build off of each other, I also really enjoy the stand alone, and was very happy to see that this was the case with the Mary Crow novels.

Bissell opens The Music of Ghosts with a bewildering murder, thrusting readers into the chaos as we watch and learn about Lisa Wilson and the events leading up to her untimely demise.  I really liked the way Bissell did this as, truth be told, I wasn’t really a fan of Lisa, but I was interested in her and her friends, and their sleuthing of the abandoned Fiddlesticks cabin piqued my interest from the very first page.  With Lisa out of the way, the novel moves quickly into a case of whodunit as the five surviving members in the cabin, as well as the others who had contact with Lisa throughout the summer, become prime suspects.  Enter Mary Crow.  Struggling with her own set of problems and her promise to never take a murder case, Mary must decide whether or not to follow her gut and, in so doing, brings about the demise of some, including former relationships, and the triumph of others.

This novel is a rollercoaster ride of emotions, focusing on Mary’s heartbreak, Jerry’s murder case, Nick’s innocence, and the very real possibility that someone very near to the Fiddlesticks murders is exacting their revenge.  Bissell kept me guessing the whole time.  Four stars.

4 stars

Midnight Ink has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to it’s wide-spread release on April 8, 2013.

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