Book Review (and a Giveaway!): Wolf Bog by Leslie Wheeler

Posted July 21, 2022 by meezcarrie in Christian / 3 Comments

WOLF BOG by Leslie Wheeler
A Berkshire Hilltown Mystery #3

GENRE: Mystery / Suspense / Amateur Sleuth
PUBLISHER: Encircle Publishing
RELEASE DATE: July 6, 2022
PAGES: 336

It’s August in the Berkshires, and the area is suffering from a terrible drought. As wetlands dry up, the perfectly preserved body of a local man, missing for forty years, is discovered in Wolf Bog by a group of hikers that includes Kathryn Stinson. Who was he and what was his relationship with close friend Charlotte Hinckley, also on the hike, that would make Charlotte become distraught and blame herself for his death?

Kathryn’s search for answers leads her to the discovery of fabulous parties held at the mansion up the hill from her rental house, where local teenagers like the deceased mingled with the offspring of the wealthy. Other questions dog the arrival of a woman claiming to be the daughter Charlotte gave up for adoption long ago. But is she really Charlotte’s daughter, and if not, what’s her game? Once again, Kathryn’s quest for the truth puts her in grave danger.

Praise for Wolf Bog:

“Wheeler’s deep sense of place—the Berkshires—illuminates a deftly woven plot and a quirky cast of characters that will keep you glued to the pages until the last stunning revelation. It’s always a pleasure to be in the hands of a pro.”

Kate Flora, Edgar and Anthony nominated author

“When a long-lost teenager turns up dead, a cold case turns into hot murder. A deliciously intriguing Berkshire mystery.”

Sarah Smith, Agatha Award-winning author of The Vanished Child and Crimes and Survivors

Wolf Bog is my first read by Leslie Wheeler, to my recollection, and I was intrigued by the Berkshires setting. I haven’t read many books set there, yet it seems like a place ripe with potential for mysteries. I also don’t remember reading any mysteries where a bog figures prominently in a murder, so needless to say my attention was gripped just from the description of this new release.

The mystery kicks off right away, when a casual hike with friends results in a body being discovered and, subsequently, the resolution of a decades-old missing person case. That doesn’t mean, however, that all the questions are answered that quickly; on the contrary, the discovery of Denny’s body opens a Pandora’s box of long-held secrets and resurrected rumors. I appreciated how the author makes Kathryn’s amateur sleuthing plausible – between her job as a curator, her friendship with one character, and her resemblance to a key player from 40 years ago, it’s logical that she would find herself involved in these mysteries to be solved. I also liked how so many different – perhaps unrelated – threads moved through the story, allowing readers to help Kathryn sift through the various layers and figure out what’s relevant, what isn’t, and how many criminals we’re actually dealing with.

While Kathryn is a likable protagonist, to be sure, it was difficult for me to connect with her character. There were little tidbits of information dropped about her history and etc. but there’s not much insight into her feelings or her inner self. We almost get there with the peek at her relationship with her mother, but she stays very reserved, even to readers. Unfortunately, this lack of connection to the main character carried over to most of the supporting characters as well, making me feel more like an observer of the story rather than a participant. Granted, other readers may not feel that way at all, and it could be chalked up to personal preference.

Bottom Line: Wolf Bog by Leslie Wheeler is a mix of mystery and suspense with a strong sense of place and a cold case spanning more than four decades. Small town gossip, boxes of old photos, a possible long-lost daughter, and a body in a bog are just the beginning of the surprises that Kathryn runs into as she engages her inner Nancy Drew. I was definitely intrigued by the premise of this story and while it was well-executed from a technical standpoint, I was disappointed that I couldn’t connect with any of the characters (except Betty, who I want to be a main character at some point lol).

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

My Rating: 3 stars / liked it to a point

Reviewer’s Note: Readers may want to be aware that this book is written for the general market and does contain some language (including a couple of profanities) & non-explicit behavior with which some followers of my blog may not be comfortable.

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An award-winning author of books about American history and biographies, Leslie Wheeler has written two mystery series. Her Berkshire Hilltown Mysteries launched with Rattlesnake Hill and continue with Shuntoll Road and Wolf Bog. Her Miranda Lewis Living History Mysteries debuted with Murder at Plimoth Plantation and continue with Murder at Gettysburg and Murder at Spouters Point. Her mystery short stories have appeared in numerous anthologies. Leslie is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime, and a founding member of the New England Crime Bake Committee. She divides her time between Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the Berkshires, where she writes in a house overlooking a pond.

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3 responses to “Book Review (and a Giveaway!): Wolf Bog by Leslie Wheeler

  1. Thanks for sharing Carrie. I think it sounds fabulous! Your sentence “Small town gossip, boxes of old photos, a possible long-lost daughter, and a body in a bog are just the beginning of the surprises that Kathryn runs into as she engages her inner Nancy Drew” made this a must read on my list! THANK YOU!

  2. Thanks for your detailed and thoughtful review of Wolf Bog, Carrie! I especially like how you point out the things that make Kathryn’s amateur sleuthing plausible–often an issue with amateur sleuths. I also like your overall positive response to my multi-layered story with “a strong sense of place and and a cold case spanning four decades.” Thanks again!

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