Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Bones Under the Ice

Bones Under the Ice by Mary Ann Miller
3/21/23; 336 pages
Oceanview Publishing
Jhonni Laurent #1

Bones Under the Ice by Mary Ann Miller is a highly recommended procedural and the first novel in the Jhonni Laurent series.

Two days after a blizzard hits Field’s Crossing, Indiana, Sheriff Jhonni Laurent finds the frozen body of high school senior Stephanie Gattison under a pile of snow. This is her first homicide case and it just happens to occur when she is in a reelection battle. Complicating matters further is the location -  a small community where everyone seems to know everyone else's business and old feuds between families are still an issue. adding to the stress is a local news paper reporter who is working closely with her opponent. When a second murder occurs, it complicates everything while it also makes it clear that there may be more involved than Jhonni originally thought.

This is a well written, carefully crafted debut procedural that follows the clues and teases out the information needed to solve the cases. There is a bit too much repetition of information already provided, but that can perhaps be chalked up to events being at the forefront of a character's mind. The small town setting rings true in the details of farm culture and in the pressure to solve the case. The investigations are believable in the uncovering of information and following clues. The turmoil surrounding the reelection is equally interesting.

Jhonni is an interesting character who has personal connections with many of the local citizens who support her in her efforts to investigate the murders as well as her reelection bid. She is a well-developed character as she navigates a narrative filled with a plethora of ancillary characters. All the characters are distinctive and add depth to the plot and enhance the small town setting.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Oceanview Publishing via Edelweiss.

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