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  • Writer's pictureCaitlyn Lynch

Book Review: Bitterroot Lake by Alicia Beckman

There’s more than a touch of the Gothic about this mystery thriller, as Sarah McCaskill Carter returns home to the small lakeside community in Montana where she grew up after her husband’s tragic passing, only to arrive on the heels of a murder. The murder of a man she despised for his actions 25 years earlier - and the friend he wronged back then found the body and might be the prime suspect.

Sarah finds herself investigating more than one mystery, as she sets to clearing a hundred years of family history from the old lodge beside Bitterroot Lake. Mysterious dreams are haunting her, similar to the ones 25 years ago which warned of coming troubles. At a crossroads in life, Sarah has to figure out a way forward for not only herself, but her troubled sister Holly and her friend Janine too.

This is fairly slow-paced, and despite the murder which kicks off the action, pretty low-stakes too, but the writing is beautifully descriptive, and I found the delving into the history of the McCaskill family and the cabin on the lake absolutely fascinating. As a mystery/thriller it might frustrate some readers because there are things which absolutely do not get explained - the mysterious pennies which appear for Sarah, and the strange dreams of the murdered servant girl which portend trouble coming - but for me that just added to the Gothic spookiness of the story. It wasn’t what I expected when I picked up the book - the blurb made me think it was something of a locked-room thriller - but I really enjoyed it anyway. Five stars for an atmospheric, clever story.

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.

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