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5 stars for Mars Hill Murder by Mary Tolan #mystery #bookreview #wrpbks #newrelease



Title: Mars Hill Murder

Author: Mary Tolan

Genre: Mystery


Book Blurb:


Reporter Miles Harper is on probation at the northern Arizona daily newspaper where he works, because his lack of attention to detail has put him on ice as thin as his notebook pages. His boss wants him out, but gives him one more chance to redeem himself.


Maddy Sullivan is new to town, on the run from a violent husband who wants her back. She and Miles meet at a coffee shop, and forge a hesitant friendship.


Police Detective Luis Ortega, Miles’s former college roommate, just wants to solve crimes. And someone is supplying those crimes by murdering low-level Flagstaff workers.


Will these three figure out who the killer is before more people die? Will Miles help solve the mystery, write about it, and save his career? And will Maddy stay safe from the horrid man she once loved?


My Review:


Can a reporter, a woman on the run, and a police detective catch a serial killer before it’s too late? Mars Hill Murder is the debut novel by Mary Tolan and it’s a gripping mystery. The descriptive narration allows the reader to dig deep into the mystery. The characters are well-written with multi-faceted personalities and backstories. The investigation leads the reader down a rabbit hole of motives and false clues. I couldn’t put it down.


Let’s start with the descriptive narration. In any mystery, you need to have intricate narration so the reader can envision everything that’s going on. This book has such detail that every scene, every character, every emotion, every action is described. The setting is so well detailed, it’s like visiting Flagstaff without leaving your chair.


The characters are also described to the last detail. I connected with all three main characters, four if you count the murderer. I loved how each character’s storyline intersects with the others. The emotional tension is high, especially for Miles and Maddy.


The writing is what caught my attention, though. This may be Mary Tolan’s first novel, but she uses her immense years working as a reporter to flesh out the plot. The writing engages the reader and that makes for an intriguing reading experience. I can’t wait to read more from this author. If you are a mystery lover like me, you’ve to read this book.


My Rating: 5 stars


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Author Biography:


Longtime reporter Mary Tolan worked as a community journalist for more than three decades, mostly in Arizona and New Mexico.


She has reported on survivors of gun violence, traveling across the country to interview people devastated by their heartbreak and losses. She taught journalism at Northern Arizona University for twenty years. After retiring from teaching in 2021, she returned to her unfinished mystery novel, Mars Hill Murder, based in Flagstaff.


Tolan grew up in Wisconsin, and has lived in the Southwest for more than forty years. Her long-running monthly column The Long & Winding Road can be found in The Arizona Daily Sun.


When she's not writing, spending time with friends, or running/swimming/yoga-ing, she and her dog Maxx can be found out in the woods or traveling in their van.


Tolan's sons live in California, her stepdaughter in Oregon, and her dog by her side—wondering when the heck she will stop typing and go for a walk.


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Reviewed by: Nancy

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