On Spine of Death – Tamara Berry

“Tess knew the exact moment the blood started dripping down her hands.

We were first introduced to Tess Harrow, successful thriller writer, in Buried in a Good BookEscaping a failed marriage, she moved to her late grandfather’s cabin in the woods with smart teenage daughter, Gertrude.

With things calming a little from the crime spree in book one, Tess has decided to stay in the sleepy town and has started work on renovating her grandfather’s other property, the town hardware store. But when part of the floor collapses, building integrity is the least of Tess’s problems – the skeleton remains uncovered put gramps first in the firing line as a serial killer! Things take an even stranger turn, when the crimes seem to have been written into the plot of a book – one that has Tess’s seeming stamp of approval.

I rather enjoyed the first book in this new series, although felt Tess’s character was trying a bit too hard. I’m very glad to say that frantic feeling has calmed while still leaving the character pleasantly quirky and imaginative. It’s also very plausible that she’s going to want to investigate the murder, as she needs both to clear her family name and figure out how the mysterious author of the book not only knew too many details of the crimes, but also seems to be predicting what happens next.

There are also some new characters to add to the mix, including fellow horror author with a very appropriate range of expertise to help out with the case. The range of suspects is wide enough to keep you guessing right until the big reveal. There’s also a new love interest for Tess, although she’s still more interested in the town sheriff. None of the ‘love triangle’ action overshadows the mystery, and does add to the plot – a rarity in the genre, but very appreciated!

Overall, this was a hugely fun read. It’s got a great vein of humour, a great case to unravel, and is just really well done. Looking forward to many more in the series!

On Spine of Death book coverNetGalley eARC: 336 pages / 33 chapters
First published: 29th November 2022
Series: By the Book Mysteries book 2
Read from 26th-29th August 2022

My rating: 8/10

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