Thursday, December 16, 2021

Haunted Water


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jo A. Hiestand will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. 

Cameron Rutter drowned two months ago in a lake on a Cheshire moor. Some say a morgen—a spirit who drags men to a watery grave—was responsible. Others say it was the phantom Grey Lady. The police say Gareth Gynne was the guilty one. Whoever—or whatever—killed Cameron needs to be sorted out. And ex-police detective Michael McLaren is asked to do just that.


McLaren’s not keen on delving into the mystery. The accused is the nephew of McLaren’s nemesis, Charlie Harvester. And if there’s one thing McLaren doesn’t want to do is to associate with another Harvester, no matter what generation he is.

Suspects and motives are as tangled as the mere grass. Did a villager kill Cameron, opposed to his crusade to keep the moor in its pristine state? Or did someone previously arrested by Cameron kill him in revenge?


Or was the morgen really responsible?


Can McLaren discover the killer, or will he too become a victim of the haunted water?

my review...

In Haunted Water, the newest book in the McLaren series, Michael McLaren has become serious enough about his friend Melanie to visit her. Whether she is more than a close friend is something I’m not even sure McLaren knows. She will most certainly have to be a patient friend because once again McLaren gets a call to investigate a murder. It’s not the same as most murders though. His best mate, Detective Jamie Kydd, wants him to try and prove the innocence of a nephew of McLaren’s most hated nemesis, Charlie Harvester.  I’ve described McLaren as a softie yet a curmudgeon in earlier books. In this book his sister describes his occasional bear-like attitude as his “growlings”. A much better description than I could have come up with. Nonetheless, he cannot pass up helping someone even if they are related to one of the meanest, most selfish men that ever lived.

Jo Hiestand starts right off making each book in this series a stand-alone. Sneaking in background and the history of her characters through dialog and description. When McLaren’s buddy Jamie calls for help, even their banter gives you a picture of what has occurred previously in the series. And yet, to a reader like me who hasn’t missed one book, it seems varied every time. It’s why I call it sneaking. Never once have I thought “oh no she’s going to tell it again”.

The setting of this book is in another small village; this one touristy only in certain seasons, and it's built near a mere (a lake) that is thought to be haunted. Hiestand does not miss a chance to use her skill with descriptive writing. She set me right down in the beautiful place and built a mystery around me. Once more, a well-written great mystery to curl up with.

read an excerpt...

“I believe you, but the police might not. They don’t know what you’re capable of, how angry you were. They can imagine you’re livid because he couldn’t come up with the loan money, so now you have to pay it. You’re at the mere earlier than agreed upon. It’s afterhours. It’s dark. No lights on. You could have easily killed Cameron. He trusted you.”

Gareth opened his mouth, but McLaren waved off his comment.

“Your feelings are boiling over. You go up to him, maybe just to talk, but you’re livid and you clobber him with a stone. He falls. Maybe he’s not dead, but if he’s not, you’re scared that when he wakes he’ll remember you attacked him. So you do the only thing that makes sense at that moment. You roll him into the mere to drown.”

Gareth stared at McLaren, unable to speak. His fingers sought the edge of the counter to steady himself. A car crawled up the High Street and disappeared before he found his voice. “That’s absurd. It never happened. I arrived with Lisa and Paul and Rhys. I never got there early—”

“Cameron was killed, Gareth. Someone had to have done it. And did it that night. I don’t think you’re culpable, but this could be exactly what the police think. More so, considering your history with him.”


A car turned off the High Street and stopped at the front of the shop.

Gareth stood up and walked over to the display window. “Who’s that? It’s nearly closing time.” He held up a hand, shielding his eyes from the intense headlight beams that lit up the room and threw shadows across the floor.

The lights cut off, leaving an ominous feeling that something unpleasant was about to happen.

about Jo Hiestand...

Jo A. Hiestand grew up on regular doses of music, books, and Girl Scout camping. She gravitated toward writing in her post-high school years and finally did something sensible about it, graduating from Webster University with a BA degree in English and departmental honors. She writes two British mystery series—of which two books have garnered the prestigious N.N. Light’s Book Heaven ‘Best Mystery Novel’ two years straight. She also writes two Missouri-based mystery series that are grounded in places associated with her camping haunts. The camping is a thing of the past, for the most part, but the music stayed with her in the form of playing guitar and harpsichord, and singing in a folk group. Jo carves jack o’ lanterns badly; sings loudly; and loves barbecue sauce and ice cream (separately, not together), kilts (especially if men wear them), clouds and stormy skies, and the music of G.F. Handel. You can usually find her pulling mystery plots out of scenery—whether from photographs or the real thing.



a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I enjoyed the excerpt and Haunted Water sounds like a great book for me to read and I can't wait to get started! Thanks for sharing it! Thanks Our Town Book Reviews for sharing your reviews! Have a magical holiday season!

    1. Hi, Stormy Vixen. Thank you for your kind comments. I'm glad you liked the excerpt. Hope you like the book if you read it!

  2. Thanks for sharing your review thoughts.

    1. Hi, Kim. Glad you stopped by. Good luck on the raffle drawing.

  3. Replies
    1. Sherry, thank you for your nice comment. And thanks for taking the time to log onto Ourtownbookreviews.


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