Monday, April 20, 2020

Mystery Monday: All We Buried, by Elena Taylor

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Title: All We Buried
Author: Elena Taylor
Publication Info: Crooked Lane Books, 2020. 304 pages
Source: ARC via NetGalley

Publisher's Blurb:
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.


My Review:
I've been greatly enjoying the Eddie Shoes series written by Elena Taylor under the name Elena Hartwell (see reviews here, here, and here), so I couldn't resist the chance for another mystery series set in Washington state and written by someone I already knew could put together a good story. The gorgeous cover didn't hurt, either :)

Elena Taylor didn't disappoint. A little more of a police procedural and less of a lark than the Eddie Shoes stories, All We Buried is a great addition to what I think of as "small town sheriff" books: Craig Johnson, Steven F. Havill, etc. I particularly appreciated that it's the story of a young, female sheriff, one who has the usual store of personal issues to work through but as a young woman, not an aging male. Maybe she's more like Nevada Barr's Anna Pigeon, but without the dark twist and the baggage, which honestly makes her more appealing to me.

The mystery is well put together, and while I dallied a bit over the opening chapters, that was because I wasn't really in the mood for murder, not because they weren't good. I let the character seep into my mind, and then I reached the tipping point... and lost a few hours of sleep. I did at one point guess the right killer, but I was ready to believe in any of several others, and the twists and turns of the story were satisfying. I'll be watching for more from Sheriff Bet Rivers.

A plus for me: the story is set in a part of the Cascade Mountains I have hiked and can easily visualize. The town is fictional, but the towns and roads that surround it are not, and I recognized them all. 

My Recommendation:
A great semi-cozy mystery (I think it has more cozy elements than procedural, but it's not quite so fluffy and light as most cozies) for social distancing. Come to think of it, maybe murder mysteries are what's needed right now: read enough about normal-seeming people who've just killed someone and you'll WANT to avoid your neighbors!


I don't usually add this sort of stuff to my standard reviews, but since this is the last day of Ms. Taylor's blog tour (which I missed signing up for, probably because I was off hiking), and because it was an ARC given with the intention of getting advance reviews which I failed to do, I'm adding author bio and purchase links.

About the Author

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 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.

Author Links
Twitter: Goodreads:  

Purchase Links:
Amazon:   Barnes& Noble  Books-A-Million  IndieBound

FTC Disclosure: I got a digital ARC of All We Buried from Netgalley, and received nothing further from the writer or publisher in exchange for my honest review. The opinions expressed are my own and those of no one else. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."  


  1. I'm really into mysteries lately and love that this is a little cozy too. Sounds like a great setting too. I'll have to check out this series. Thanks.

    1. If you like your mysteries with some laughs, check out the Eddie Shoes books, too!

  2. What a great write up! Thank you, Rebecca.

    1. You're welcome! I snitched the bio and stuff from the Great Escapes tour page. Still not sure how I missed the tour, but it probably came up while I was traveling.


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