"Lack of any truly likable or unlikable character gives this story no one to root for, or against."

The Secret of Green Hills

Written by Lorraine Venter

Genre: Mystery

Book Synopsis

Green Hills is a picturesque little town with its surrounding mountains and the tranquil river that flows through it like a silver snake. The very relaxed atmosphere to the small town is perfect for a weekend away from home. But when a young woman named Elizabeth Mcfarlaine is found dead by the river, the town's tranquil peace is shattered. Inspector Rothman and Constable Cromwell investigate the murder, but time is ticking when another woman is murdered. Who could be behind the murders? could revenge be the motive? Discover the answers as you unravel the Secret of Green Hills!

Sharon's Rating

Sharon's Review

The main story revolves around John and Victoria McFarlaine, whose daughter Elizabeth is murdered. Victoria has a psychic episode concerning Elizabeth's safety, before her body is found. This part at the beginning is quite interesting, but it isn't played up the way it could have been. This ability could have been used to round out Victoria's character, and give her some type of presence in the reader's mind. Instead, it is glossed over as Irish superstition, by her husband. I see failure to pursue John and Victoria's personalities as a missed opportunity to flesh out the characters.

Characterization is a big part of any story. If the characters are not sufficiently described and personalized, then it is as difficult to warm to the story, as it is to warm to the characters. Lack of any truly likable or unlikable character gives this story no one to root for, or against.

There are many other obstacles to this being a good story. The editing needs work. The manuscript is laced with spelling, grammar and punctuation errors. The plot line becomes confusing in places. At one point the actions of Elizabeth are attributed to Victoria.

A murder mystery in a small town, involving a spooky old house is a good concept initially. Unfortunately, the storyline becomes bogged down rather quickly. To begin with, the story is predominantly written in the present tense, which is difficult to pull off for an entire novel. It gives the reader the idea that everything is happening right now, although some of the events happened in the past. Some of it does veer off into the past tense however, which makes the continuity of the plot rather unstable. The reader is not given enough detail about any character to form any solid opinion.

The Secret of Green Hills has an interesting mystery behind it that properly handled, could become a much better novel. With thorough editing, and a bit of rewrite, this could be a thrilling murder mystery full of suspense. As it sits right now, that is not the case. It is not a book I would willingly pay to read.

Disclaimer: The subject matter concerning murder is possible too disturbing for younger readers. There is some violence, but it's not graphic.