Tuesday, March 14, 2023

ARC Review: Bones Under the Ice by Mary Ann Miller

Bones Under the Ice

Mary Ann Miller
Series: Jhonni Laurent (Book 1)
Publication: Oceanview Publishing (March 21, 2023)

Description: Jhonni Laurent is the first female sheriff of Field’ s Crossing, Indiana— and now she has her first murder case

Two days after a blizzard hits Field’ s Crossing, Indiana, Sheriff Jhonni Laurent discovers the frozen body of a high school senior under a fifteen-foot pile of snow and ice. Murder is rare in farm country, and this death marks the beginning of Jhonni’ s first homicide case.

Just as the investigation gets underway, Jhonni’ s opponent for sheriff from four years ago wages a bitter reelection battle to oust her. Then, Jhonni finds another body, and further complications arise when a century-old feud between two families reaches its breaking point.

Soon, a slew of newspaper articles causes the Indiana State Election Board to doubt her credibility. Jhonni must fight to maintain her reputation, keep the small farming community together, and find the murderer at large— all while demons from her own past threaten to crush her. Can she find the killer and mend her battered spirit before it’ s too late?

My Thoughts: This first-in-a-series thriller introduces Sheriff Jhonni Laurent who works in Field's Crossing, Indiana. After 15 years in the department and four years as sheriff, she is now faced with her first murder investigation.

Eighteen-year-old Stephanie Gattison was found buried under piles of snow left by a blizzard. At first, the assumption is that she got lost during the blizzard and died of hypothermia. However, two dents on her head soon lead to the conclusion that someone hit her and left her to die. 

Stephanie was an ambitious high school senior who worked two part-time jobs. She worked for the city scanning documents and for the local hardware store. She has a boyfriend named Dylan Martin and had recently had an argument at work with Theo Tillman. Both are potential suspects since she saw both of them the afternoon of the storm at the local water tower. 

The Martins and Tillmans had a long-standing feud. Both families farmed but the Martins were frugal and successful while the Tillmans were lazy and deeply in debt. Laurent is afraid that her investigation will acerbate tensions between the two families. 

Tensions are already high enough in town. Laurent is up for reelection in just a few weeks and her defeated opponent works as one of her deputies and is running again with the strong support of the local newspaper which is more known for vendettas than serious news. Laurent is also dealing with a letter she's recently received from the daughter she gave up for adoption thirty years earlier. 

Then the local banker is found dead in a suspicious accident and Laurent has another murder to solve.

I enjoyed this story. I liked Laurent as she deals with all the stresses in her life. I thought the plot was well done and the characters very realistic. I recommend it for all mystery fans. 

Favorite Quote:
"Then there's the alien theory." She pulled her mouse pad toward her and looked at her reelection opponent. "He thinks Vern saw an alien ship land at the water tower and thought Stephanie was an alien and shot her."

"You gotta give him credit for imagination," Greene said. "What are you going to do next?"
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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