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  • Mandy McHugh

A Distant Grave, Sarah Stewart Taylor: A Review

I have been waiting for a follow-up to The Mountains Wild after I finished it in a single sitting last year. Between Maggie D'arcy's rich character and the enthralling Irish setting, this easily became one of my favorite titles. I was thrilled to be approved for an early eARC of A Distant Grave and quickly dove in.

Still dealing with the fallout from the events of book one, Maggie D'arcy is looking forward to two weeks vacation in Dublin. When a strange shooting on a Long Island beach proves to be more than just a simple robbery, Maggie finds herself navigating an international investigation that spans decades and continents. Without giving too much away, I LOVED this book. Maggie D'arcy is such an amazing character. Honest, loyal, and meticulously thorough, she loves her job and wants to do it well. She also loves being a mother, and it is refreshing to see a woman in a position of power who wants both: career and family. Is it easy? Absolutely not, but that doesn't mean sacrificing one for the sake of the other--an arc I want to see more of in the genre. The second book in a series can sometimes be tricky to pull off. You have to find a balance between reiterating context while making it relatively accessible for new readers, and Taylor handled that fine line really well. The plot is well nuanced and moves. We get the underlying tension of a previous case, the current case with potential gang ties, politics, international intrigue, and PTSD/war stories. It's a lot, but never did it feel like too much. The structure of alternating present and flashbacks worked well and not only set a steady pace for the mystery but also highlighted the importance of voice--hearing those who may not be given the opportunity to tell their stories. I also loved the countryside scenes. No spoilers, but where TMW was like a love letter to Ireland, this was the response, both complex and honest. Vivid imagery, cultural tidbits, and a deeper look at Irish history, Taylor's writing is immersive and effortless. Overall, A Distant Grave is a fast-paced, insightful, lyrical tale of love, loss, and redemption. I'd recommend to fans of international mysteries, police procedurals, The Killing or Bosch. Out in June, this is one you won't want to miss. Big thanks to Minotaur and NetGalley for providing an eARC in exchange for honest review consideration.

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