Bitter Truth (Bitter Root Mysteries #2) by C.J. Carmichael @cj_carmichael #bookreview #mystery

Title: Bitter Truth

Author:  C.J. Carmichael

Publisher: Tule Publishing

Publication Date: February 15, 2018

Page Count: 227

My rating: 4 stars

About the book:

Murder in a small town is always personal.

In the isolated ranching community of Lost Trails, Montana, Lacy Stillman, a rich elderly rancher has died of a heart attack in her own bed. What could be more normal than that? As Zak Waller, dispatcher with the local Sheriff’s Office, joins the town in mourning the loss of the community matriarch, some disquieting information makes Zak wonder if Lacy’s death was not what it seemed.

Meanwhile, Zak’s friend Tiff Masterson is overwhelmed by her mother’s escalating mental breakdown and her aunt’s stubborn denial of the problem. Tiff assumes the root of the problem is the death of her brother and father sixteen years ago. But the real atrocity goes back much further than that. When the truth is revealed in a shocking twist, Tiff’s world is turned completely upside down. The ramifications affect many of the most prominent citizens and provide the missing clue to Lacy Stillman’s murder.

Perfect for fans of the British television film Broadchurch.

my-review_43_orig - Edited

Bitter Truth by C.J. Carmichael is the second book in the Bitter Root Mysteries series. Each book in the series is centered around a new mystery so they could be understood if reading as a standalone however there is character development carried over from the first book.

In this installment of the series the citizens of Lost Trails, Montana are all mourning the loss of ninety one year old Lacy Stillman when she is found in her home presumably having suffered a heart attack. As details come about and the debate over Lacy’s wealth begins Zak Waller begins to question whether the death really was natural causes or not seeing that Lacy had just had her check up and a clean bill of health.

While things heat up with Lacy’s death Tiff Masterson is going through a lot with her mother and aunt. Having returned to Lost Trails recently she begins to question her mother’s mental health but her aunt will hear nothing of the sort. It’s assumed Tiff’s father and brother passing years before are the cause but Tiff finds herself in for a huge surprise when old family secrets become uncovered.

Again I found myself amazed at what C.J. Carmichael can accomplish with a story in such a short time. These books aren’t incredibly long but so much gets packed into each story and never once do I feel like the details are forgotten or the mystery is too rushed. Everything in the book is woven together wonderfully to keep a reader guessing through each turn of the page and the characters have more depth to them than some 500+ page reads. After finishing this installment I’ll definitely be interested in the next book in this series for sure.

I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

Find this book online: 

Goodreads  /   Amazon

About the author:

USA Today Bestselling author C. J. Carmichael has written over 50 novels, with more than three million copies in print. Three of her novels have been nominated for the Romance Writers of America RITA Award, including A Bramble House Christmas. A film version of A Bramble House Christmas is premiering as a Hallmark Holiday movie in 2017.

A strong supporter of women’s health issues, C.J. recently donated an original romance to the Love & Hope trilogy published by Lachesis Publishing, with benefits supporting Ovarian Cancer Research.

Married, with two grown daughters, C.J. divides her time between her home in Calgary, Alberta and the family cottage on Flathead Lake, Montana. To be the first to know about upcoming releases and promotions please sign up for her monthly newsletter.

Visit C.J.’s website at


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