Five Star Review! Family Secrets by Shawn McGuire

Family Secrets
by Shawn McGuire
Series: Whispering Pines Mystery #1
Publication: June 15th 2017
by Brown Bag Books
Category: Adult
Genre: Mystery, Paranormal
Source: Purchased

My Rating:

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Welcome to Whispering Pines, Wisconsin, a place for those who don’t belong.

Sixteen years after a family feud drove her from the cozy Northwoods village of Whispering Pines, Wisconsin, former detective Jayne O’Shea returns to prepare her grandparents’ lake house for sale. Once there, not only does she find that the house has been trashed, her dog discovers a dead body in the backyard.

Jayne intends to stay out of it, but when it becomes obvious the sheriff isn’t interested in investigating the death, Jayne can’t stop herself. Her list of suspects grows faster than the plants in the commons’ pentacle garden. Could it be the local Wiccan green witch with her stash of deadly plants? The shopkeeper who slips into trances and foretells death? The visitor determined to practice black magic?

What Jayne knows for sure is that the closer she gets to solving this crime, the more the sheriff wants her to back off. And when a local fortune teller provides a crucial clue, Jayne knows it’s up to her to solve this murder.

Fans of Denise Grover Swank, Charlaine Harris, and Janet Evanovich will love the quirky small town setting with its even quirkier residents.

~My Thoughts~

What a great mystery with a dash of paranormal! I can’t believe I waited this long to start the series. I fell in love with McGuire’s writing style back when I read her Wish Makers series. This is a very different series in more ways than one; the obvious contrast being the shift from YA to Adult.

When I first began reading Family Secrets I thought Jayne was an incredibly rigid, almost monotone, voice in the story. I wasn’t sure how I felt about this protagonist, and I’ll admit…I was afraid I wasn’t going to enjoy her story. In the end, that’s one of the things that made it so enjoyable; Jayne’s story arc.

She was uptight in the beginning–understandably so–because of her family dynamic, her past career choices, and the love that she had to let go. The mistakes she made haunted her to the core. As I continued to read, though, her interaction with the villagers and her budding friendship with Tripp began to smooth her rough edges. Of course, the most important bond in this story is the one she has with Meeka. Love that dog! I need a Westie now. I absolutely adore the organic, slow building connection Jayne makes with Tripp. Nothing forced about it.

The mystery in this tale is brilliantly paced and captivating. There are so many characters in this story as she meets the people who live and work in Whispering Pines, but not once does it feel overwhelming and every character was extremely well developed. I’m in awe of McGuire’s talents. I’ve already purchased the second book in the series so I had to write my review before I devour each book and they all start blending together.

Highly recommend to all fans of mystery and paranormal stories! Well done, McGuire!

~About the Author~

shawn mcguire

Shawn McGuire is the author of young adult novels that blend contemporary settings and issues with a touch of fantasy and magic. She started writing after seeing the first Star Wars movie (that’s episode IV) as a kid. She couldn’t wait for the next movie to come out so wrote her own episodes. Sadly, those notebooks are long lost, but her desire to write is as strong now as it was then.
Her books deal with harder topics (dating violence, death of a sibling, divorce, substance abuse, runaways, etc.) because she believes it is important to talk about these things. Those kinds of topics can be hard to handle and a bit overwhelming, so she infuses a bit of humor in her work as well because she also believes that a sense of humor can help you get through just about anything.

Shawn lives in Colorado with her family where she loves to read, cook and bake, craft, decorate her house, and spend time hiking and camping in the spectacular Rocky Mountains.

Shawn’s Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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Wife, homeschooling mom, YA author of paranormal, dark fantasy, and horror, huge fan of the Oxford comma, book blogger, crafter, baker of sweet things, lover of the culinary arts, self-appointed zombie slayer.