One of the most wonderful things in life is having time to read and relax. When I go on vacation, I read whenever the kids still sleep. So, last week, I finished an entire series! I really enjoyed the Twisted Cedars mysteries series by CJ Carmichael. The series consists of three books: “Buried,” “Forgotten,” and “Exposed.”
CJ Carmichael is a seasoned author who has written over 45 romance novels. However, her first love as a reader and aspiring author was a mystery, which makes me super happy because I prefer mystery over romance any day of the week!
The books take place in the fictional coastal town of Twisted Cedars, Oregon. The town has a dark past with many secrets that will unravel by the series’ end.
This series is darker than the cozy mysteries I typically read. At times, while reading, I was pretty upset, but I was already so invested in the characters that I had to ensure they would all be okay. That speaks volumes to Carmichael’s character development.
The main character is Dougal Lachlan. He is a true crime writer who returns to Twisted Cedars to uncover the truth behind a series of unsolved murders from the past. He works closely with Charlotte Hammond to solve the mysteries in the town. His sister Jamie Lachlan is also in all three books. They have a strained relationship since Jamie stayed in Twisted Cedars and cared for their mother while she was dying of cancer. She also marries a man that Dougal warned her about
Charlotte Hammond is the local librarian in Twisted Cedars. She is connected to the town’s mysteries, as her older sister, Daisy Hammond, disappeared eight years ago, adding a personal element to the investigation
Sheriff Wade MacKay is involved in the investigations and works with Dougal and Charlotte to solve the mysteries and expose the killer responsible for the unsolved murders.
Mysteries within mysteries
There are two mysteries in this series. One is about Daisy’s disappearance eight years ago. There are theories that she left because postpartum depression led to her getting a divorce and not knowing how to be a mom. The situation is unearthed by the end of the first book, but we don’t find out what happened until the next book. This plotline felt predictable and then took a twist I didn’t expect.
The other mystery is about the murders of four librarians 30 years ago. The librarian murders are separate cold cases from different cities Dougal visits after receiving an email stating the murders were connected. The anonymous sender provides clues about the unsolved cases, promising him the best story of his career.
As Dougal digs deeper and eventually finds out who is sending the emails, things spiral quickly. He ends up forced into a situation where he must finish writing a twisted novel to save the life of a young boy.
The Twisted Cedars Mysteries series by CJ Carmichael is a captivating and well-written collection of suspenseful stories that I thoroughly enjoyed. The author skillfully weaves intricate plots, engaging characters, and a sense of urgency that keeps readers on the edge of their seats. The series is a perfect blend of romance, mystery, and suspense, making it a must-read for fans of the genre.