A Season to Lie by Emily Littlejohn

A Season to Lie

Following her acclaimed debut Inherit the Bones, this is Emily Littlejohn’s next mesmerizing mystery featuring Colorado police officer Gemma Monroe.In Emily Littlejohn's follow-up to her acclaimed debut, Inherit the Bones, police officer Gemma Monroe has just returned to work from maternity leave. And what a first day back: a blizzard is blowing into her idyllic Colorado s...

Title:A Season to Lie
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Edition Language:English

A Season to Lie Reviews

  • Myndi

    Original Review:

    Gemma Monroe has just returned to work after her maternity leave when a new murder falls in her lap. And the victim is a highly revered author who has been secretly living in town under a different name! As if that weren’t enough (she’s only supposed to be back part-time after all), some questionable contractors have started doing business in town (mobbed up, maybe???), and her co-worker Sam is being pushed to work for them via his grandfather (definitely mobbed up)

    Original Review:

    Gemma Monroe has just returned to work after her maternity leave when a new murder falls in her lap. And the victim is a highly revered author who has been secretly living in town under a different name! As if that weren’t enough (she’s only supposed to be back part-time after all), some questionable contractors have started doing business in town (mobbed up, maybe???), and her co-worker Sam is being pushed to work for them via his grandfather (definitely mobbed up). While investigating the murder, Gemma starts questioning the roles she has chosen, as a cop, a new mother, a life partner, and is constantly reevaluating her priorities. Meanwhile, the suspect pool is a little deeper than you’d expect in such a small town. Catching this killer is going to be a lot harder than she thought.

    There was a great deal of introspection in this book that I really appreciated. Gemma is a new mom who has just returned to work, to a job that she loves fiercely but is extremely dangerous at times. She feels that tug (and the guilt) that come along with being away from a new baby, but she really does love her job so much. Still, balancing childcare with her partner is challenging, and their relationship is feeling some of the bumps that come along with such a big change.

    At work, she is trying to find her way back into the fold. She’s been on maternity leave for awhile and she hasn’t kept up with everyone during her absence. Sam had suffered a devastating injury during their last case and can now only do a desk job. Her partner has a new mystery girlfriend, and is behaving differently. Everything has changed just a little, and she doesn’t like having missed out.

    I gotta be honest, I guessed who the killer was pretty early on, as well as the motive. But. It was still a decent plot and a fun story to read. This is a series I’ve really enjoyed so far, and I’ll be keeping my eye out for the next in series.

    Recommended for anyone who likes something that falls between a cozy and a thriller/mystery. It’s very light on language, sex and gore. Ultra-light, honestly. But moodier and more atmospheric than a cozy.

    Note: I received this book from the publisher. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.

  • Diane S ☔

    Gemma has just returned from maternity leave, her daughter Grace left in the care of her partner, when a call to a private school about an intruder, leads to the discovery of a body. Gemma and her police partner Finn soon discover it is the body of a famous author, in the town incognito, only a long time friend knew he was there. This discovery will split the plot into many different threads, one including the Brothers Grimm.

    The setting is fabulous, a Colorado ski town, massive amounts of snow f

    Gemma has just returned from maternity leave, her daughter Grace left in the care of her partner, when a call to a private school about an intruder, leads to the discovery of a body. Gemma and her police partner Finn soon discover it is the body of a famous author, in the town incognito, only a long time friend knew he was there. This discovery will split the plot into many different threads, one including the Brothers Grimm.

    The setting is fabulous, a Colorado ski town, massive amounts of snow falling and more already on the ground. Have to say I like reading about snow much better than actually dealing with it. But the star of this series, of which this is the second, is Gemma herself. She is so easy to relate to, a new mother, missing her baby, feeling guilty, but needing to get out and do something. Trying to juggle home, family and her job, often grabbing crap food because there is little time for a proper meal. The pace is brisk, not graphic, but suspenseful enough. A few surprises, though I had an inkling who was involved in the final denoument, though not the full extent of the why.

    A good solid new series, with some interesting developments, which I'm sure will be further explored in future books.

    ARC from Netgalley.

  • Amy

    Last year I had the pleasure of reading Littlejohn’s debut, Inherit the Bones and absolutely fell in love with Gemma and the town of Cedar Valley. There is something tragically poetic about the authors style then you combine that with a classic murder mystery feel and you have a wonderful juxtaposition that makes for a captivating read.

    This picks up three months after Gemma has given birth to her daughter Grace, right as she’s about to head back to work. Her struggle to balance being a new mom a

    Last year I had the pleasure of reading Littlejohn’s debut, Inherit the Bones and absolutely fell in love with Gemma and the town of Cedar Valley. There is something tragically poetic about the authors style then you combine that with a classic murder mystery feel and you have a wonderful juxtaposition that makes for a captivating read.

    This picks up three months after Gemma has given birth to her daughter Grace, right as she’s about to head back to work. Her struggle to balance being a new mom and maintain a healthy separation between work and home is so very relatable and her and Brody’s relationship is far from perfect, especially as they adjust to parenthood. Naturally there is a murder the same day Gemma returns, there is no easing back into the job as she had hoped. Besides the murder investigation Gemma stumbles upon a horrific bully at the high school where the murder was committed. The tyrant goes by Grimm as in the brothers Grimm and doles out punishments based on fairy tales. Plenty going on here and the subplots added intrigue to an already interesting storyline.

    This would be perfect to curl up with during the colder months, it’s the dead of winter in Cedar Valley and the setting is so well crafted that it’s practically a character of its own. A murder set against a series of blizzards makes a chilling combination and while it wasn’t twisty in the truest sense of the word, it still kept me on my toes and eager to follow Gemma in the future.

  • Chelsea Humphrey

    As this is a sequel to

    , I'll keep it short and to the point. I don't like to rehash the basics in every book of a series, but I felt this one had many strengths, yet also a few weaknesses. I found myself torn throughout the entire read; while I was thoroughly invested in the personal goings on of

    As this is a sequel to

    , I'll keep it short and to the point. I don't like to rehash the basics in every book of a series, but I felt this one had many strengths, yet also a few weaknesses. I found myself torn throughout the entire read; while I was thoroughly invested in the personal goings on of the reoccurring characters, I found myself struggling a bit to make it through the case pertaining to this book. If I had to choose, I would much rather struggle with the bit that will only involve this book in lieu of the ongoing story, which is why I gave this an "I enjoyed this with slight hesitations" 3 stars.

    There was some serious growth in Gemma and our other main characters in this book; I loved this! In the debut to the series I felt Littlejohn created a cast I immediately connected with; that bond only deepened during

    as we follow Gemma along her new journey into motherhood. I found myself itching to read this book from the moment I laid down the last one because I just wanted to see how my crew was doing. I may be in the minority, but it felt like the case took a major backseat to the personal stuff, which was fine if there had been more of the personal stuff. The mystery into the murder(s) wasn't bad, it just wasn't anything groundbreaking. I figured out who the murderer was early on, which wasn't a deal breaker for me, but the entire book felt repetitive. Each chapter contained a lengthy scene where Gemma was rehashing the clues they had put together thus far, either in her head or with someone else. I do understand the importance of keeping your audience abreast of what's going on, but I found myself skipping entire chunks and not missing a thing due to this nature. Other than that, this was a solid crime novel with excellent characters and a creepy undertone that held my attention. Even though I wasn't blown away by this installment I will most definitely be reading the next book as the characters really are top notch.

  • Maranda

    Detective Gemma Monroe works for the Cedar Valley Colorado Police Department. Reporting for duty after her maternity leave she and her partner Finn are summoned out in a blizzard to investigate a prowler. This call is only the beginning of a twisted chain of events that unveil not only a murder but also bullying, stalkers and lies. Pretty well had this mystery solved from the beginning and just was not invested in the cast of characters. Had some subplots described and some police department per

    Detective Gemma Monroe works for the Cedar Valley Colorado Police Department. Reporting for duty after her maternity leave she and her partner Finn are summoned out in a blizzard to investigate a prowler. This call is only the beginning of a twisted chain of events that unveil not only a murder but also bullying, stalkers and lies. Pretty well had this mystery solved from the beginning and just was not invested in the cast of characters. Had some subplots described and some police department personnel that could have been given more depth. This worked fine as a stand-alone. "A copy of this book was provided by St. Martin's Press via NetGalley with no requirements for a review. The comments here are my honest opinion."

  • Amber

    Thank you to Minotaur Books for providing me with a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

    I am officially obsessed with the Gemma Monroe series. I was introduced to it last November when I won a copy of the first book, Inherit the Bones, through a giveaway and let me tell you: waiting a whole year for the second book to release has been torture!

    First and foremost, I love Gemma’s character. She’s smart, she’s bold, she doesn’t back down, and she says what she means. She’s a kick

    Thank you to Minotaur Books for providing me with a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

    I am officially obsessed with the Gemma Monroe series. I was introduced to it last November when I won a copy of the first book, Inherit the Bones, through a giveaway and let me tell you: waiting a whole year for the second book to release has been torture!

    First and foremost, I love Gemma’s character. She’s smart, she’s bold, she doesn’t back down, and she says what she means. She’s a kickass detective and I love it. And the relationship between Gemma and her partner Finn is worth mentioning. They’ve got each other’s backs, yet they have a sibling-like tension that feels realistic and is often good for a chuckle. In general, all of the characters have very distinct and unique traits and personalities. They’re always quirky and intriguing and never boring.

    In addition to loving the characters, I’m also a big fan of the pacing. The murder victim is found right away in the beginning of the book, so it opens with a bang. From that point on, the reader is fed clues with each chapter. You’re kept on your toes, constantly questioning everyone’s actions, motives, comments, etc., yet it never feels overwhelming nor sluggish.

    I blew through A Season To Lie in two sittings, despite every effort to drag it out. My only complaint: having to wait for book three to see what the next adventure will be. I strongly recommend Littlejohn’s series for fans of mysteries, detective novels, and strong female protagonists. You could read this book as a standalone, but I think you’ll get more from the characters and plot if you have the back story from the first book, Inherit the Bones.

  • Dan

    A Season to Lie is the second story in the Detective Gemma Monroe series. I don’t think you need to read the first to read this one. I didn’t and got involved with the characters with ease. It starts with the murder of a famous author who was secretly in the town to write his memoirs. While investigating the murder, Gemma learns of other things happening at the private school the author was lecturing at. It started off well enough and I enjoyed how things developed. As the story unfolded, I too

    A Season to Lie is the second story in the Detective Gemma Monroe series. I don’t think you need to read the first to read this one. I didn’t and got involved with the characters with ease. It starts with the murder of a famous author who was secretly in the town to write his memoirs. While investigating the murder, Gemma learns of other things happening at the private school the author was lecturing at. It started off well enough and I enjoyed how things developed. As the story unfolded, I too wondered where it will all lead. But it wasn’t suspenseful enough to keep me interested till the end. When it is all resolved, I felt let down, not thrilled.

  • Kristy

    Police officer Gemma Monroe returns from maternity leave and is immediately plunged back into the job when she finds a dead man at the local private academy. He's been left in the snow, stuck to a tree with a knife in his stomach. The man turns out to be a famous author hiding out in plain sight in Gemma's Colorado town. Even worse, that same private school is being plagued by a vicious bully who calls him or herself "Grimm." Reunited with her partner, Finn, Gemma finds herself dealing with the

    Police officer Gemma Monroe returns from maternity leave and is immediately plunged back into the job when she finds a dead man at the local private academy. He's been left in the snow, stuck to a tree with a knife in his stomach. The man turns out to be a famous author hiding out in plain sight in Gemma's Colorado town. Even worse, that same private school is being plagued by a vicious bully who calls him or herself "Grimm." Reunited with her partner, Finn, Gemma finds herself dealing with the murder case, the bullying incidents, and a strange construction company--made up mainly of ex-convicts--that seems to have made itself at home in her town. So much for easing herself back into the job...

    I very much enjoyed

    's first Gemma Monroe novel,

    , and was really excited to see the second one come out.

    Gemma is much the same in this second foray--practical and levelheaded. She's back to work after the birth of her daughter, Grace, with whom she was pregnant in BONES.

    As a mother who went back to work when her own daughters were young and faced a harried schedule, I really appreciated that about this novel.

    Thankfully, I did not encounter a dead body on my first day back, just a lot of meetings! Gemma, of course, takes it all in stride, as she cannot help but enjoy the thrill of the hunt. The novel gives us a lot of reflection and thoughts from Gemma. I'd call this one a bit of a slow-burner. I read it while busy and it took me nearly a week. The storyline wasn't one that had me itching to pick it up and see what happens--there's several divergent plot lines and none feel particularly urgent or overly suspenseful.

    A pervasive weariness almost overlays the pages--a reflection of the weather (think snow, all the time) and Gemma's general fatigue as she faces returning to work while juggling having a tiny baby at home. That's not to say the book isn't interesting, because it certainly is. Especially when the case starts to intersect with Gemma and Finn's personal lives--which isn't surprising, considering they are small town police officers/detectives. The Grimm storyline is a bit of a bizarre concept and the resolution, while a total surprise to me, was a bit anticlimactic. A few of the plot threads do tie up a little too easily,

    I had some suspicions, but she convinced me to cast them aside, so I'm always pleased when that happens.

    It's probably obvious that I identify with and like her--I enjoy her steadfast character, even though she also has bouts of anxiety and uncertain times. Seeing her as both a mom and working detective was great. This being a second novel, we're gaining enough recurring characters (Gemma, Finn, Gemma's partner/quasi-husband, Brody, Gemma's grandparents, a few other townspeople) that you recognize them and their quirks. Another plotline is left a bit unresolved, leading me to hope that a third Gemma novel is in the works. Even though this wasn't the most exciting of all mysteries, I found it solid and enjoyable, much like its protagonist. I'd certainly read any Gemma Monroe novel I could get my hands on. 3.5+ stars.

    You can read my review of the first Gemma novel, INHERIT THE BONES,

    .

    I received a copy of this novel from the publisher and Netgalley (thank you!) in return for an unbiased review; it is available everywhere as of 11/14/2017.

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  • Sharon

    A Season to Lie is the sequel to Emily Littlejohn's compelling debut novel, Inherit the Bones. The story opens when Detective Gemma Moore returns from maternity leave, trying to ease back into the job on a part-time basis. On her first night, she and her partner Finn are assigned to investigate a prowler reported at the Valley Academy, a prestigious private school. Instead they discover the stabbed body of a world-famous author who had been masquerading as a visiting professor at the school. In

    A Season to Lie is the sequel to Emily Littlejohn's compelling debut novel, Inherit the Bones. The story opens when Detective Gemma Moore returns from maternity leave, trying to ease back into the job on a part-time basis. On her first night, she and her partner Finn are assigned to investigate a prowler reported at the Valley Academy, a prestigious private school. Instead they discover the stabbed body of a world-famous author who had been masquerading as a visiting professor at the school. In the victim's mouth they find a cryptic note, "This is only the beginning."

    Suspects abound. Teachers, staff, and students are caught in lies. There are reports of a mysterious "Rabbit Man" lurking in the forest surrounding the school. A faceless bully known as Grimm has been terrorizing the students, and everyone wonders if Grimm could be the murderer—or maybe even the victim. And then there's a second murder.

    Alistair Campbell, a shady developer who recently came to town with a crew of ex-convicts, begins stalking Gemma's family. Alistair tempts Brody, the father of Gemma's baby daughter, with a lucrative offer to go on the road with him and forsake his promise to be a stay-at-home dad while writing a grant-funded geology textbook.

    Although Brody and Gemma are living together and raising their daughter as a family unit, Gemma still can't bring herself to tie the knot. She harbors unresolved feelings of betrayal from an affair Brody had with a co-worker, even though he has assured her it is over for good. In the last book, Gemma resented being paired with Detective Finn, whom she found uncouth and a bit unethical, but in this book, their partnership is blossoming into one of mutual trust and respect, with their diverse strengths complementing each other to solve crimes. I predict romantic sparks in future installments; after all, opposites attract.

    A Season to Lie, full of twists and turns, will keep the reader guessing until the end. Emily Littlejohn, a California native who has made her home in Colorado, writes so beautifully about the gorgeous ski-town setting that you can see the majestic Rocky mountains, smell the snow-covered evergreens, and feel the bitter winter cold as you immerse yourself in Gemma's story.

  • Rachel Wallace

    Book two in a series.

    This very engaging police thriller was hard to put down. I just couldn't stop reading!

    SYNOPSIS

    The night Gemma Monroe, a police officer in a small Colorado mountain community, returns to work from her maternity leave is not exactly boring. If she was hoping to ease back into work, she is in for a big disappointment. Shortly after her shift begins, she and her partner Finn are called out to check a report of a suspicious man prowling around a school.

    Book two in a series.

    This very engaging police thriller was hard to put down. I just couldn't stop reading!

    SYNOPSIS

    The night Gemma Monroe, a police officer in a small Colorado mountain community, returns to work from her maternity leave is not exactly boring. If she was hoping to ease back into work, she is in for a big disappointment. Shortly after her shift begins, she and her partner Finn are called out to check a report of a suspicious man prowling around a school. When they arrive, they quickly find a body of a dead man. Not just any man, this is a famous author, and no one knew he was in town. To add to the mystery, he was out in a blizzard with no coat and there was a strange message stuck in his mouth.

    As Gemma and Finn start asking questions, there turn out to be an abundance potential suspects. AND there are several other 'situations' in town that seem to be coming to a boiling point. On top of all that, Gemma and her boyfriend Brody are adjusting to parenthood and the changes in creates in their relationship.

    WHAT I LOVED

    I loved the setting, a small Colorado mountain town in the winter. The cozy living rooms with fires in the fireplace, the expansive views and the snow storms made me miss Colorado so much! I can't wait to visit CO again.

    The struggle Gemma was having adjusting to motherhood felt very authentic. While she loved her baby, she was tired, found juggling the work / mom thing difficult and felt guilty for loving her work so much. She was clearly overwhelmed.

    The actual murder mystery was good. At one time or another, I suspected pretty much everyone except Gemma's baby. There were many interesting suspects with various motives to read about.

    There was a lot going on with other characters in the small town and with Gemma's personal life. The book left several loose ends, creating an opening for book three.

    WHAT I DIDN'T LOVE

    Although I really liked most of this book, there were a few times it felt a bit like a Lifetime Movie. When it did, it dipped to down from 4 stars to 3. One example was when Gemma and Finn were interviewing the teachers at the school and the dialogue between the teachers was pretty unrealistic and annoying. There were times when Gemma and Finn missed some pretty obvious red flags, that kind of annoyed me too.

    OVERALL

    Very readable. I will definitely go back and read the first book in the series and will read number three when it comes out.


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