Book Review (and a Giveaway!): All We Buried by Elena Taylor

Posted April 15, 2020 by meezcarrie in contemporary, Elena Taylor, giveaway, mystery/suspense / 6 Comments

Sheriff Bet Rivers #1
GENRE: Cozy Mystery
PUBLISHER: Crooked Lane
RELEASE DATE: April 7, 2020
PAGES: 304

For fans of Julia Keller and Sheena Kamal, All We Buried disturbs the long-sleeping secrets of a small Washington state mountain town.

Deep in the woods surrounding the Cascade mountain range, a canvas-wrapped body floats in a lake, right in Elizabeth “Bet” Rivers’s jurisdiction. Bet has been sitting as interim sheriff of Collier after her father’s–the previous sheriff’s–death six months ago. Everyone knows everyone in a town like Collier. She has made it her duty to protect the people she’s come to see as family. And she intends to hold her title in the upcoming election, but she’s never worked a murder investigation on her own before and her opponent and deputy, Dale Kovac, isn’t going down without a fight.

Upon unwrapping the corpse, Bet discovers the woman is from out of town. Without an identification, the case grows that much more puzzling. Determined to prove herself worthy, however, Bet must confront the warped history of Collier. The more she learns, the more she realizes she doesn’t know the townspeople of Collier as well as she thought, and nothing can prepare her for what she is about to discover.


All We Buried is the best mystery I’ve read so far this year – richly atmospheric from start to finish, layered, and a bit haunting. The characters are multi-dimensional and engaging, and there was more than one moment when I wasn’t sure who to trust other than Bet herself. And Schweitzer the dog, too, of course, who wins the honor of being one of my favorite dogs in fiction. I’m looking forward to seeing him in future books of the series nearly as much as I am Bet and all the ‘good guy’ characters (including some of the initially iffy ones) in this first installment.

The mystery in All We Buried is also very multi-dimensional, and Taylor reveals it a layer or two at a time. Never too hurried. Never too slow. Just the right amount of pacing to keep us turning the pages and completely locked into the story. And I have to confess that the plot took me by surprise more than once, and not many books do that. Absolutely stellar writing that left me sitting in stunned silence for a moment near the end.

Bottom Line: All We Buried has more of a traditional mystery feel than cozy, though there are elements of the latter as well, and I loved it! The town of Collier – particularly the lake – is as much a secondary character as the actual residents, and the rich details put readers right in the middle of it. Taylor skillfully sets the pace to allow us to become acquainted with the town, the people, and the deep-rooted mysteries coming to the surface. A fabulous read from start to finish!

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 4.5 stars / loved it!

Reviewer’s Note: Readers may want to be aware that there is some infrequent cursing throughout this novel.

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Elena Taylor spent several years working in theater as a playwright, director, designer, and educator before turning her storytelling skills to fiction. Her first series, the Eddie Shoes Mysteries, written under the name Elena Hartwell, introduced a quirky mother/daughter crime-fighting duo. With All We Buried, Elena returns to her dramatic roots and brings readers a much more serious and atmospheric novel. Located in her beloved Washington State, Elena uses her connection to the environment to produce a forbidding story of small-town secrets and things that won’t stay buried.

Elena is also a senior editor with Allegory Editing, a developmental editing house, where she works one-on-one with writers to shape and polish manuscripts, short stories, and plays. If you’d like to work with Elena, visit

When she’s not writing or coaching writing, her favorite place to be is at the farm with her horses, Jasper and Radar, or at her home, on the middle fork of the Snoqualmie River in North Bend, Washington, with her husband, their dog, Polar, and their cats, Coal Train and Cocoa. Elena holds a B.A. from the University of San Diego, a M.Ed. from the University of Washington, Tacoma, and a Ph.D. from the University of Georgia.

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6 responses to “Book Review (and a Giveaway!): All We Buried by Elena Taylor

  1. Diana Hardt

    Nice cover. I liked the synopsis. It sounds like a really interesting book, very intriguing. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Kay Garrett

    Thank you for your review on “All We Buried” by Elena Taylor and for being part of the book tour.

    I’d love the opportunity to read this great sounding book.

  3. Autumn Trapani

    This sounds like an intriguing new series, and the author is new to me. Thanks for the chance!

  4. Lisa Sabatini

    I like the idea that the protagonist discovers that she does not truly know the people in her small town.

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