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Bitter Roots

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Bitter Roots (Book 1 of Bitter Root Mysteries) Dispatcher Zak Waller prefers working behind the scenes in the Sheriff’s Office of Lost Trail, Montana, but when a newcomer to the sparely populated town is brutally murdered—and the Sheriff is quick to pin the death on an unknown outsider—Zak starts his own private sleuthing. On the surface Lost Trail is a picture-perfect Bitter Roots (Book 1 of Bitter Root Mysteries) Dispatcher Zak Waller prefers working behind the scenes in the Sheriff’s Office of Lost Trail, Montana, but when a newcomer to the sparely populated town is brutally murdered—and the Sheriff is quick to pin the death on an unknown outsider—Zak starts his own private sleuthing. On the surface Lost Trail is a picture-perfect western town, offering a simple way of life revolving around the local ranches and ski hill, but Zak knows the truth behind the façade. When his old school friend Tiff Masterson, whose family owns a local Christmas tree farm, moves back to town, the two of them join forces to get to the truth about the murder. Bitter Roots is the first of three Bitter Root Mysteries.


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Bitter Roots (Book 1 of Bitter Root Mysteries) Dispatcher Zak Waller prefers working behind the scenes in the Sheriff’s Office of Lost Trail, Montana, but when a newcomer to the sparely populated town is brutally murdered—and the Sheriff is quick to pin the death on an unknown outsider—Zak starts his own private sleuthing. On the surface Lost Trail is a picture-perfect Bitter Roots (Book 1 of Bitter Root Mysteries) Dispatcher Zak Waller prefers working behind the scenes in the Sheriff’s Office of Lost Trail, Montana, but when a newcomer to the sparely populated town is brutally murdered—and the Sheriff is quick to pin the death on an unknown outsider—Zak starts his own private sleuthing. On the surface Lost Trail is a picture-perfect western town, offering a simple way of life revolving around the local ranches and ski hill, but Zak knows the truth behind the façade. When his old school friend Tiff Masterson, whose family owns a local Christmas tree farm, moves back to town, the two of them join forces to get to the truth about the murder. Bitter Roots is the first of three Bitter Root Mysteries.

30 review for Bitter Roots

  1. 5 out of 5

    Carrie

    Zak Waller is working as a dispatcher for the Sheriff’s Office of Lost Trail, Montana when he gets a call the morning after Halloween that a body has been found outside the medical clinic. A newcomer to the small town had been brutally beaten and left to die on her own in the middle of the night. Tiff Masterson has just returned to Lost Trail when she hears that an employee of her family business was murdered. Tiff and Zak were friends and when the two run into one another again they can't help Zak Waller is working as a dispatcher for the Sheriff’s Office of Lost Trail, Montana when he gets a call the morning after Halloween that a body has been found outside the medical clinic. A newcomer to the small town had been brutally beaten and left to die on her own in the middle of the night. Tiff Masterson has just returned to Lost Trail when she hears that an employee of her family business was murdered. Tiff and Zak were friends and when the two run into one another again they can't help but put their heads together trying to solve the case since it seems the sheriff and deputies are set on proving the killer was not from their small town instead of following all the leads. Bitter Roots is the first book in a new series by C.J. Carmichael. The book is a fairly short read but even with it being shorter I found there was plenty involved in the mystery to keep my attention and enjoyed the fast pace, page turning story. The story has all the feel of a small own read with the characters all knowing one another but this small town has plenty of drama going on to keep a reader guessing what could have possibly happened to this poor newcomer into their lives. Zak quickly became a favorite character of mine as he tried to keep to himself and out of the law enforcement spotlight by insisting on staying the dispatcher but in this job had all of the insight to everything going on. Overall, I'd definitely recommend this one and look forward to reading more books from this series and from this author. I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley. For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.wordpress....

  2. 5 out of 5

    Linda Strong

    Welcome to the very small town of Lost Trail, Montana.... where nothing exciting ever happens. Well .... almost. A young woman is found brutally beaten and left dead at the back entrance to what passes as a hospital. New in town, no one seems to really know her. She had just started working at the Christmas Tree farm. So who would want her dead? The sheriff rapidly comes to the conclusion that there could absolutely not be anyone from his small town ... obviously it was someone from her past. But Welcome to the very small town of Lost Trail, Montana.... where nothing exciting ever happens. Well .... almost. A young woman is found brutally beaten and left dead at the back entrance to what passes as a hospital. New in town, no one seems to really know her. She had just started working at the Christmas Tree farm. So who would want her dead? The sheriff rapidly comes to the conclusion that there could absolutely not be anyone from his small town ... obviously it was someone from her past. But there are two people who do not agree. Zac Waller is the police dispatcher, a job he loves, although he's way over-qualified. He does more investigating than the Sheriff does. Nadine Black is the new Deputy. On the surface, Lost Trail is quiet and unassuming ..... it's the underbelly that's filled with secrets and lies ... and murder. I really enjoyed this story set in a small, small town ... where everyone knows everyone else....for the most part. It's well written, I can almost smell the Christmas trees. The characters are outstanding. Although there are no frantic chases or bodies falling, it's a constant, no surges of adrenaline. Quite enjoyable mystery. Zac hasn't decided what he wants to be when he grows up, but right now he's very happy doing the job of dispatcher. He just can't help himself doing a bit of investigating himself. An old friend comes back to her hometown and while people think they are a couple .. they aren't. Zac has his eyes on Nadine, but not sure he wants to go there. All the secondary characters are extremely reminiscent of small town life. The 90+ year old librarian .... the man who marries a woman in order to give her daughter a father. He has a huge secret that not even his father knows .. and how does he tell his new wife, who seems to have an agenda all his own? The couple who have adopted a brand new baby ... and even after wanting a baby for so long, why are they not happy? Bitter Roots is the first of three Bitter Root Mysteries. No cliff hanger with this book. I won this book as a give-away from Library Thing. So I wish to thank them and the author. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ariana

    1.5 Stars Originally posted on: The Quirky Book Nerd *I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review* This is my first experience with C.J. Carmichael’s work, and sadly, I really did not enjoy Bitter Roots at all. You could potentially say that it left a “bitter” taste in my mouth. The synopsis sounded fantastic when I first found this novel—and it was an extremely quick read—but the plot was rather poorly executed. There was no aspect of this novel that was 1.5 Stars Originally posted on: The Quirky Book Nerd *I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review* This is my first experience with C.J. Carmichael’s work, and sadly, I really did not enjoy Bitter Roots at all. You could potentially say that it left a “bitter” taste in my mouth. The synopsis sounded fantastic when I first found this novel—and it was an extremely quick read—but the plot was rather poorly executed. There was no aspect of this novel that was particularly memorable or that made me feel motivated to continue reading. Thankfully, this is a short novel, so I did manage to make it to the end, but there was really no payoff for my efforts once I got there. First of all, I will admit that I had the wrong impression of this novel from the very start. I believed it to be a mystery/thriller novel, however I did not realize that the author is known primarily for writing romantic suspense novels until I looked it up on Goodreads. At this point, I had already agreed to read and review it, so I decided to give it a fair chance. And I did in fact go into this novel with no bias, lowered expectations, or belief that I would end up disliking it. The overall idea sounded intriguing, so I was still eager to give it a try. This novel is a third person narrative that predominately follows the lives of three characters—Tiff, Zak, and Justin—as they navigate their experiences and relationships in the small town of Lost Trail following the murder of a young woman. Tiff, an accountant, has just made the difficult choice of moving back to her family’s ranch after her life in Seattle falls apart. Zak is the dispatcher at the local sheriff’s office who seems content with his life behind the desk, but uses his talents to inspect the murder case on his own time. Justin is a lawyer who is settling down with his wife and her daughter, though there are many unresolved issues floating around behind the scenes of this seemingly perfect marriage. Tiff is still struggling to find closure after the deaths of her father and brother years ago, and to come to terms with her mother’s mental health, which seems to be spiraling even more out of control than it was the last time they were together. Tiff becomes involved in the search to find the killer, as the murdered young woman had been under her family’s employment, working on their Christmas tree farm. Zak, with his inquisitive mind, cannot help but work on the case of the murdered woman, even though it is really not his place to do so. On top of this, he is rekindling a friendship with Tiff and dealing with his confusing feelings toward the new deputy at the station. And lastly, Justin’s storyline mostly focuses on his home life with his family, leaving him less involved in the crime solving area of the novel. Sadly, the murder mystery aspect of the story took a backseat to the troubles, fractured relationships, and sometimes perverted musings of the main characters. Now don’t get me wrong, I always enjoy some family drama in novels, but I hated the fact that everything overshadowed a murder and the obviously shoddy detective work surrounding the case. The plot was exceedingly slow and repetitive as well. The main characters spent most of their time being suspicious of one person and never even considering anyone else. Tiff and Justin also met up every few chapters and basically recapped, in great detail, everything that had just been read. It felt like we were never getting anywhere, until the last three chapters when Carmichael slammed down on the accelerator and plowed into the conclusion. Comparatively, the plot wrapped up uncannily quickly and was far too rushed. The big twist was not very impressive—it was a surprise, but that was not enough to salvage the rest of the plot. It seemed very out of the blue, as the reader only gets to hear the most important information in these last few chapters. So while it is unexpected, it is unexpected due to lack of any information in prior points of the novel. The characters and their personalities really fell flat for me. They were incredibly one dimensional throughout the entire narrative, and I found it hard to connect with almost all of them. I spent a lot of the novel feeling quite fed up with them and their choices. The only character I felt at all invested in was Justin. He was the most genuinely kind human being, and his relationship with his family really pulled me in. Another positive factor of the characterization was the relationship between Tiff and Zak. Prior to even knowing there would be elements of romance to this novel (if you can even call them that), I assumed that this friendship between them would probably end up turning into something more. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see that they maintained a strong companionship throughout the narrative without falling for each other. This is honestly something that I personally see becoming much rarer in novels these days, so I commend Carmichael for making this choice. One of the other positives about this novel was the writing. I didn’t have any real complaints about the style itself. I thought that Carmichael was a strong writer, and her experience and talent still shine through. This was one of the only things that pushed me to finish off the book. Her words flowed very well and this is what carried me so quickly through the narrative. Her descriptions, for the most part, were very detailed, but I wish there had been a bit more of them, and that she had gone about them differently. There was a big downside to the descriptions, in my opinion. This was the aspect of the novel that left me feeling a bit offended. The only characters who really got any sort of detailed description were all the young and implausibly attractive ones. These people were mostly women, and everyone was “tall and slender” with unrealistically perfect appearances. This is another part of the novel that overshadowed not only the severity of the situation, but also the intelligence and capability of the females in this narrative. Overall, I was taken aback at this and quite unimpressed and annoyed. I thought this might possibly be due to the fact that I am unaware of the common conventions of romance novels, but that is still something I’m unsure of. It doesn’t really excuse the moments of sexism and perverted thoughts that really angered me. For example, most of the men in this novel—especially Zak—were extremely focused on and judgmental of the appearances of women, and way too focused on leering at them. Unfortunately, I would not recommend this novel or series. It was not at all what I was expecting given the promising synopsis. The story is very repetitive and lacks depth, and it is even mildly offensive at times—at least it was for me. Despite the writing itself being relatively good, there was nothing, in my opinion, redeeming about this novel, nor was there anything worth reading plot-wise. I would definitely be willing to try another one of Carmichael’s novels, but I don’t think I will be continuing on with this particular series.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Una Tiers

    Bland. Way too much backstory.

  5. 5 out of 5

    SOMDReigel

    I enjoyed this mystery set in a modest, ranching town. There was plenty going on within this small town and many of the characters were suspects. The two main characters were interesting, as well as all the secondary characters. Zak was a different lead character for me. He was an underachiever, one that avoids the spotlight and I enjoyed his role. His character shows growth and I believe we may see a different career for him in upcoming books in the series. His longtime friend, Tiff, returns to I enjoyed this mystery set in a modest, ranching town. There was plenty going on within this small town and many of the characters were suspects. The two main characters were interesting, as well as all the secondary characters. Zak was a different lead character for me. He was an underachiever, one that avoids the spotlight and I enjoyed his role. His character shows growth and I believe we may see a different career for him in upcoming books in the series. His longtime friend, Tiff, returns to town still dealing with the grief of losing two family members from over 20 years ago. I liked how she began to have more patience with her mother, be less judgmental and more accepting of her mother’s grief. Strong writing and the words flowed very well. I look forward to reading more books from this series as there are many great characters with stories of their own.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ramona

    Good read. Well written, a smidgen mainstream. Lots of mystery , good characters and story. I will probably read the rest of the series.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Shari

    An amazing mystery that will keep you guessing until the end. Riley is new to Lost Trails, Montana when she is found dead on the steps of the medical clinic. Tiff has just returned home to the tree farm, after gone for many years. Dispatcher, Zach will use his own sleuthing to find the murderer. Love the cast of characters, all with interesting lives. Many layered secrets in this small mountain town, that I really enjoyed. Loved the town library!! I can't wait to visit Lost Trails again.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ronald Keeler

    At first glance, I had the impression that Bitter Roots by C. J. Carmichael was a Western fiction novel. It is not. This is a story of a very small sheriff’s department in a very small town in a very small county where a murder has occurred. The victim was a temporary worker at the local Christmas Tree Farm, Riley Concurran, who had only been in town a little over a month. It was not a season for tourists. There were no mysterious strangers who had been seen by residents in a town where every At first glance, I had the impression that Bitter Roots by C. J. Carmichael was a Western fiction novel. It is not. This is a story of a very small sheriff’s department in a very small town in a very small county where a murder has occurred. The victim was a temporary worker at the local Christmas Tree Farm, Riley Concurran, who had only been in town a little over a month. It was not a season for tourists. There were no mysterious strangers who had been seen by residents in a town where every stranger was scrutinized closely, and where every event was the subject of gossip at either the cafes or the Dew Drop Inn. All this meant that the killer was a local resident. Unmasking that person was the concern of the understaffed Sheriff’s Department. The Sheriff’s Department of Lost Trail, Montana was both adequate to perform law enforcement duties required by the community and understaffed due to personnel peculiarities. Sheriff Ford was a small-town sheriff with an eye on elections. He would want to make sure the killer could not be a citizen (voter) of Lost Trail. Therefore, the search would be for someone in Riley’s background who would profit from the death, had committed the murder in or around Lost Trail, and who had fled. Deputy Butterfield, sixty years old, had a sense for when Sheriff Ford would be present and always showed up at work a few minutes before the boss. He would then find a patrol area that assured he would not be seen around the station during his shift. Deputy Black, a new female deputy, had yet to form work habits and did not have enough background knowledge yet to decide anything. Zak Waller, our main protagonist and hero, was the office dispatcher and did not want to be anything else. He had the ability and education to be a deputy sheriff but was an under-the-radar kind of guy who did not want to be the lead in anything. He had no investigative authority or power of arrest. But he was curious, much more so than the Sheriff or his deputies. Residents of Local Trail who had any connection with the Raven Christmas Tree Farm, and that was almost everyone, would have their backgrounds looked at closely in a search for anyone who was a threat to or who had been threatened by Riley. Justin Pitman, son of coroner Doc Pitman, knew a lot of the darker secrets of the town, whether through lawyer confidentiality requirements or through his father who worked under doctor-patient confidentiality requirements. Justin recalled how murder victim Riley had visited his office with a vague legal question about culpability for criminal acts. She had not been sufficiently clear with her questioning and the lawyer-client relationship had not been formed. But he now wondered about the cryptic conversation they had. Justin had not pursued it as he was preoccupied with his new wife and newly adopted son. Willow had grown up in Lost Trail, had left it with Justin’s friend and Willow’s lover Paul. She had recently returned with Paul’s baby and a remembrance of a relationship with Justin. In his efforts to help her, Justin contributed to one of the darker Lost Trail stories by marrying Willow and adopting her baby. But Willow was not happy in Lost Trail and that occupied a lot of Justin’s thought. Justin and Willow’s situation will be repeated many times in Lost Trail with only a change of names. In the small town, there were financial haves and have-nots. There were also have-nots who were residential originals, founders of the town, powerful people. This novel is very good in its character development of the individuals who make up a small town. There is the annoying retired high school teacher who pesters the Sheriff’s Department when high school students pester her with minor vandalism acts against property. She doesn’t know them except by name because she had taught their parents. There are the two sisters who run the Raven Tree Christmas farm, a local economic powerhouse, and employer of Riley Concurran. There was the new farm manager who had fortuitously arrived six months earlier to replace a manager of over twenty years who had abruptly resigned. He lived on the farm in a guest house that the returning Tiffany Masterson wanted to occupy. She had returned to Lost Trails after a meltdown in a high-stress job. She felt she could come home and help mother Rosemary and Aunt Marsha run the family farm. Lots of well-developed characters and scenes make this a five-star read. There is more than one mystery surrounding the murder mystery. Most questions will be answered but I found one mystery only hinted at that was not developed at all. The dialogue surrounding it could have been left out of the novel and no one would have noticed. Maybe it is a topic for another novel in the series. This is subtitled “A Bitter Root Mystery so I look forward to other books in the series. I grew up in a town the size of Lost Trails. The town had dark secrets. I was also a Sheriff’s Deputy. This novel felt like a visit home.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    The first installment in C. J. Carmichael's Bitter Root Mysteries series, Bitter Roots is a fast-paced and engaging mystery. The day after Halloween is always a busy day for vandalism reports in the Sheriff's office. Zak Waller is not anticipating any kind of serious crime reports, so the discovery of the body of a young woman who has apparently been beaten to death is quite shocking. Even more disconcerting is the identity of the victim: twenty-two year old Riley Concurran, a young lady whom Zak The first installment in C. J. Carmichael's Bitter Root Mysteries series, Bitter Roots is a fast-paced and engaging mystery. The day after Halloween is always a busy day for vandalism reports in the Sheriff's office. Zak Waller is not anticipating any kind of serious crime reports, so the discovery of the body of a young woman who has apparently been beaten to death is quite shocking. Even more disconcerting is the identity of the victim: twenty-two year old Riley Concurran, a young lady whom Zak knows in passing. Since she is a newcomer to the rural community of Lost Trail, MT, local Sheriff Archie Ford is certain her murderer is someone from her old life. Although Zak is content with his behind the scenes job as the dispatcher, he is frustrated by Ford's rush to judgment so he embarks on a bit of surreptitious sleuthing. When he uncovers some startling evidence, he turns the information over to Deputy Nadine Black to look into. On the same day Riley's body is found, Zak is surprised to learn his old friend Tiffany "Tiff" Masterson has returned to town. Tiff left for college then moved to Seattle where she is an up and comer at an accounting firm. Unbeknownst to her friends and family, her life has undergone some upheaval and she is planning to move back to her family's Christmas tree farm. Hoping to open her own accounting business, Tiff is unhappy to discover her mom and Aunt Marsha have hired Kenny Bombard as the new manager of the family's business. Her first encounter with Kenny rubs her the wrong way and she grows even more suspicious of him in the coming days. Several of Lost Trial's residents are in the midst of personal dramas of their own and curious minds will certainly wonder whether or not these issues have any bearing on the recent murder. Zak and Tiff's friend, Derrick Sparks and his wife Aubrey are new parents of an adopted baby boy and Tiff is shocked by the changes in her old friend. Local attorney Justin Pittman is recently married and he is very concerned about his new wife's puzzling behavior. Tiff wonders if there is any significance to an overheard conversation between her aunt and the local doctor. Will the ongoing investigation into Riley's murder reveal any connection to any of these well-known and respected citizens? With plenty of twists and turns, a perplexing murder and intriguing characters, Bitter Roots is an engrossing mystery. C. J. Carmichael brilliantly keeps the killer's identity concealed as Zak pieces together the truth about what happened to Riley. While Riley's murder is solved, not all of the story arcs are completely wrapped up by the novel's end. These lingering questions will leave readers impatiently awaiting the next installment in the Bitter Root Mysteries series.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    Bitter Roots by CJ Carmichael Dispatcher Zak Waller prefers working behind the scenes in the Sheriff’s Office of Lost Trail, Montana, but when a newcomer to the sparely populated town is brutally murdered—and the Sheriff is quick to pin the death on an unknown outsider—Zak starts his own private sleuthing. On the surface Lost Trail is a picture-perfect western town, offering a simple way of life revolving around the local ranches and ski hill, but Zak knows the truth behind the façade. When his Bitter Roots by CJ Carmichael Dispatcher Zak Waller prefers working behind the scenes in the Sheriff’s Office of Lost Trail, Montana, but when a newcomer to the sparely populated town is brutally murdered—and the Sheriff is quick to pin the death on an unknown outsider—Zak starts his own private sleuthing. On the surface Lost Trail is a picture-perfect western town, offering a simple way of life revolving around the local ranches and ski hill, but Zak knows the truth behind the façade. When his old school friend Tiff Masterson, whose family owns a local Christmas Tree farm, moves back to town, the two of them join forces to get to the truth about the murder. this is Zak Waller and Tiff Masterson’s story. Dispatcher Zak Waller prefers working behind the scenes in the Sheriff's Office of Lost Trail, Montana, but when a newcomer to the sparely populated town is brutally murdered - and the Sheriff is quick to pin the death on an unknown outsider - Zak starts his own private sleuthing. Tiff Masterson, whose family owns a local Christmas tree farm, moves back to town, the two of them join forces to get to the truth about the murder. will Zak and Tiff get to the truth about the murder? read this book to find out. I highly recommend reading. Bitter Roots by CJ Carmichael is a wonderful well written 5 star book. "I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book." CJ's Books with Tule: Promise Me, Cowboy Carrigans of the Circle C The 75th Copper Mountain Rodeo Good Together Carrigans of the Circle C Close to Her Heart Carrigans of the Circle C Snowbound in Montana Carrigans of the Circle C A Cowgirl’s Christmas Carrigans of the Circle C Writing the Bestseller: Romantic and Commercial Fiction Non-Fiction Writing the Bestseller II: Romantic and Commercial Fiction Non-Fiction A Bramble House Christmas Carrigans of the Circle C A Book Girl’s Guide to Marietta Melt My Heart, Cowboy Love at the Chocolate Shop Bitter Roots Bitter Root Mysteries

  11. 4 out of 5

    Marsha Keeper Bookshelf

    Reviewed at Keeper Bookshelf If you’re in the mood for a relatively quick murder mystery read with a definite small town feel, then Bitter Roots is a perfect story to get you started on this three story series (at this time). Zak may be a small town police dispatcher, but he has the heart and soul of a mystery sleuth hidden in that ‘can’t be bothered’ surface he cultivates. There’s a mystery in town and his fellow officers seem to be overlooking the obvious. He’s not above doing a bit of Reviewed at Keeper Bookshelf If you’re in the mood for a relatively quick murder mystery read with a definite small town feel, then Bitter Roots is a perfect story to get you started on this three story series (at this time). Zak may be a small town police dispatcher, but he has the heart and soul of a mystery sleuth hidden in that ‘can’t be bothered’ surface he cultivates. There’s a mystery in town and his fellow officers seem to be overlooking the obvious. He’s not above doing a bit of sniffing around since he’s certain the officials are on the completely wrong track. Tiff knew of the most recent victim, they had worked for her family’s Christmas tree farm. The official story doesn’t make a lot of sense. When she meets up with a childhood friend they find that their thoughts on the murder and the department’s are very different. What makes them so sure it was an outsider? Zak and Riff end up doing some investigating of their own – and the results will be some small town surprises. I enjoyed Bitter Roots. The small town feel is very realistic, and the suspects are numerous. Small towns usually hold a few secrets, but murder isn’t usually at the top of that list. Tiff and Zak were enjoyable to follow as they got to know the adult they’d each become, and figure out why the obvious is so hidden from the sheriff’s department. If you enjoy putting puzzle pieces in just the right spots, then Bitter Roots is a story and a series that you’ll want to get started on. Enjoyed this one and would recommend it to any Romantic Suspense or Murder Mystery reader. *I received an e-ARC of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley. That does not change what I think of this story. It is my choice to leave a review giving my personal opinion about this book.*

  12. 5 out of 5

    Miekenstein

    This is the first book I've read by Carmichael and after reading Bitter Roots I intend to read more soon. I don't read that many mysteries or thrillers anymore because my enjoyment of extreme tension when reading no longer exists. Luckily, there is very little tension in Bitter Roots. Basically, just enough tension to keep the book interesting. After all, you have to have some dark anticipation in a book to drive a murder mystery. I found the mystery itself tight and believable. I figured out This is the first book I've read by Carmichael and after reading Bitter Roots I intend to read more soon. I don't read that many mysteries or thrillers anymore because my enjoyment of extreme tension when reading no longer exists. Luckily, there is very little tension in Bitter Roots. Basically, just enough tension to keep the book interesting. After all, you have to have some dark anticipation in a book to drive a murder mystery. I found the mystery itself tight and believable. I figured out why the victim was murdered long before the actual murderer was named but I didn't have trouble accepting the murderer as the true culprit. (I hate books and tv shows where the murderer turns out to be someone very unlikely with a secret and random motive.) I also liked that there were many possible killers and possible motives, at least initially, in the story. In my opinion, the balance of mystery and possible romances in the book is spot on. Future romantic relationships are laid out as we get to know the characters in the town of Lost Trail but there is no feeling of romance masquerading as a mystery. Most importantly of all, the characters in the book are well written and likable (except for the killer). I especially liked Zak and Tiff (I do have to say that Tiff sounds more like the name of a ginger cat than an adult woman, but whatever). Zak is smart and intriguing character dressed up in the costume of an underachiever. I look forward to reading the next books in the series to see exactly what Zak will make of his professional and personal lives. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys well written mysteries that are not too gruesome or tense. I think many contemporary romance readers would enjoy it as well. I received and ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    Bitter Roots (is the first book in the Bitter Root Mysteries series by C.J. Carmichael. I have read romance books of Carmichael's in the past and always enjoyed them. Bitter Roots is fast read and a good mystery. It is well written and enjoyable to read. The story centers around Tiff Masterson who has returned to the small Montana town of Lost Trail. An accountant, she had been living in Seattle until her work and home life ended in chaos. She headed to Lost Trail and is quickly caught up in a Bitter Roots (is the first book in the Bitter Root Mysteries series by C.J. Carmichael. I have read romance books of Carmichael's in the past and always enjoyed them. Bitter Roots is fast read and a good mystery. It is well written and enjoyable to read. The story centers around Tiff Masterson who has returned to the small Montana town of Lost Trail. An accountant, she had been living in Seattle until her work and home life ended in chaos. She headed to Lost Trail and is quickly caught up in a mystery involving the death of a young woman working on her family's Christmas tree farm. Together with Tiff's high school friend and now police dispatcher Zak, they begin to look into the mystery. I enjoyed the characters. It will be interesting to see in future books if Zak decides to become a police officer instead of a dispatcher. Good fast read. Mystery fans will enjoy Bitter Roots. I am looking forward to the next books in the series.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Janine

    An intriguing new mystery with an unpredictable ending. No one knew much about Riley Concurran or what brought her to Lost Trail, but her brutal murder has everyone shook up. The sheriff thinks it was an outsider who tracked her down. But best friends, Zak Waller and Tiff Masterson think differently. Together, they put all the pieces together and solve the crime. I enjoyed this story a lot. It was a nice change from what I usually read. I liked the characters and plot. I look forward to the rest An intriguing new mystery with an unpredictable ending. No one knew much about Riley Concurran or what brought her to Lost Trail, but her brutal murder has everyone shook up. The sheriff thinks it was an outsider who tracked her down. But best friends, Zak Waller and Tiff Masterson think differently. Together, they put all the pieces together and solve the crime. I enjoyed this story a lot. It was a nice change from what I usually read. I liked the characters and plot. I look forward to the rest of the series to learn more about other characters in the book. The book kept me attention the entire time and I was unable to figure out who the killer was. It was an exciting surprise to learn who it was.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Lack

    Bitter Roots is book one in the new series. This book has lots of twists and turns. There was a brutal murder that Dispatcher Zac Waller of the Sheriff's Department was trying to solve. His friend Tiff Masterson moves back to town to her families tree farm and finds all kinds of mysteries. I really enjoyed trying guess what was going on and following all the clues. I still have some unanswered questions about some of things happening in the book but I'm hoping they will be answered in the next Bitter Roots is book one in the new series. This book has lots of twists and turns. There was a brutal murder that Dispatcher Zac Waller of the Sheriff's Department was trying to solve. His friend Tiff Masterson moves back to town to her families tree farm and finds all kinds of mysteries. I really enjoyed trying guess what was going on and following all the clues. I still have some unanswered questions about some of things happening in the book but I'm hoping they will be answered in the next book. CJ Carmichael did some fantastic writing in this book. She was creative and weaved a fine mystery.. ****I voluntarily reviewed an Advanced Readers Copy of this book from Net Galley.****

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lynda Kelly

    Another great book by this author and a terrific start to a new series by her. It has a proper ending so people won't feel robbed but it does leave plenty of scope for the ensuing stories for sure, which I'll be reading. I think Justin is probably my favourite character, along with Zak. It didn't get 5* because although there weren't hundreds of mistakes, it always irritates me the most when an author gets a character's name wrong, which she did. There was also one thing which I found a little Another great book by this author and a terrific start to a new series by her. It has a proper ending so people won't feel robbed but it does leave plenty of scope for the ensuing stories for sure, which I'll be reading. I think Justin is probably my favourite character, along with Zak. It didn't get 5* because although there weren't hundreds of mistakes, it always irritates me the most when an author gets a character's name wrong, which she did. There was also one thing which I found a little too farfetched. The mistakes-firstly, spelling Hemingway as Hemmingway !! And he's American.....then ticking and not ticcing then at one point she mentioned Zak in his office when she was talking about Kenny !! It will be most intriguing to see where she takes this group of characters to next.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Donnajo

    I voluntarily read a advanced reader's copy of this book Bitter Roots by C. J. Carmichael, is book one in the Bitter Roots Mystery series. A great first book in a series. Enjoyed the small town, the characters and great plot. C. J. Carmichael knows how to write a good book that pulls you in from the first page. I'm looking forward to reading more books in the Bitter Root mystery series and more by this author.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rita

    A Wonderful Book! I really enjoyed this book. The author makes you feel that small town feeling with her likable characters. I loved the story and plot. It has love and mystery which makes me want to know more about what is happening in more of her books which are to be continued. I am glad to have read this author’s work.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tracie R

    Bitter Roots is the first book I have read by C.J. Carmichael and I am glad I did. I enjoyed this fast-paced mystery, the story is well written and I found myself engaged in the storyline from the very beginning. I look forward to exploring more by this author

  20. 5 out of 5

    Brooke

    I downloaded this book for free some time ago and finally got around to reading it. I actually enjoyed it far more than I thought I would. The characters were decent and the story had just enough intrigue. It was a quick read too, which I always appreciate.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Beverlee Henderson

    Delightful! After living in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana for almost 20 years I read this entire book the day I got it. There is something about small towns and the people who live there for generations that creates wonderful nostalgia. I am not disappointed. I highly recommend this book, great story and great characters. A touch of a less complicated life.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Bernie

    Bitter Roots is the first book in another excellent mystery series written by author CJ Carmichael. I look forward to reading more books in this series. Thanks to NetGalley and Tule Publishing for the advance copy.

  23. 4 out of 5

    BookWorm

    I ignored this book on my ereader for months. Finally got around to reading it and I wish I had read it sooner. I was captivated the whole way through. At first I felt a bit overwhelmed when a new chapter would focus on a different character and I was wondering who exactly the main character was supposed to be. But then I settled into it. I found all the characters interesting and complex. Some good twists.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sophia

    A mystery set in small town Montana sounded just right and I've already enjoyed the author's contemporary small town romances so I was primed and ready for Bitter Roots. It was a nice layered mystery with plenty of personal character back story, whiffs of romance, but a cunning mystery at the heart of things. Zak Waller is a home town guy who likes to stay under the radar and enjoy the simple things of life while working as the dispatcher and office clerk for the county sheriff's office. A mystery set in small town Montana sounded just right and I've already enjoyed the author's contemporary small town romances so I was primed and ready for Bitter Roots. It was a nice layered mystery with plenty of personal character back story, whiffs of romance, but a cunning mystery at the heart of things. Zak Waller is a home town guy who likes to stay under the radar and enjoy the simple things of life while working as the dispatcher and office clerk for the county sheriff's office. Everything changes when a murdered body of a new girl in town forces him into action. Tiff came home with her tail tucked between her legs after years of being away working as a big city accountant and swearing she'll never go home. She has unresolved grief and anger from her brother and dad's death years ago and her mother falling apart mentally shortly after. But, she needs to start over and she comes home just in time to find one of the family Christmas Tree Farm's workers has been murdered. Justin Pittman grew up in Lost Trail and stuck around after university to be a small town lawyer and take care of his dad. His new wife and adopted daughter have him making adjustments especially when the cancer seems to have come back. But, the murdered woman has the whole town in a tizzy and he is caught up in things. Bitter Roots was an interesting beginning to a new series. I had to adjust quickly to the idea that this was a trilogy of stories that tie together through the personal stories of three people: Zak, Tiff, and Justin who all grew up in the town of Lost Trail. The mystery shares stage with their three personal stories. The mystery finished off in this story, but the rest is ongoing. I had to adjust to this set-up so I knew what to expect. I liked the deeper development this allows for the cast of characters. So, the personal stories... I liked Zak and Justin right away even if I thought Zak was letting his past hold him back from being something more and I thought Justin's situation with his wife was leading in a certain direction which it was. I liked the dynamics of friendship between Zak and Tiff and that little bit of excitement starting up for Zak with the hot and determined new deputy. But with Tiff, it took me a bit to warm up to her. She didn't do well after her dad and brother died with her angry at the world attitude. She can't accept the way her mother is, but doesn't see that she's not really different in her not so healthy way of handling her grief. She gets snarky and resentful with the Christmas Tree Farm manager from the get go and it takes her a while to do some self-realization and get herself together. Once she did, I liked her and enjoyed what she has started in her love interest. Now, the mystery wasn't terribly twisting, but it wasn't simplistic, either. I liked how it was in the forefront and yet flowed nicely as Zak, Tiff, and Justin worked out their own stories. The clues were there and it was fun to see Zak, in particular, but also Tiff really get into the investigation. The sheriff wants a quick closure and cares more for votes and keeping his supporters happy than doing actual police work. That's where the new deputy, Nadine Black, a former rodeo star, and Zak end up beings the ones to work the case. The chemistry is good between the pair with the sparks flying now and then. There were a few side mysteries that were left open that will become more front and center in the following series installments. I had a good time with this one and enjoyed the blend of character stories, their romances and murder mystery in the Montana small town so I'll definitely be reaching for book two soon.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jenn

    Really engrossing story. I thought I had the mystery figured out, but was completely wrong. I loved the combination of Tiff and Zak, even Deputy Nadine Black. There are so many theories flying around in this novel that point you to all the wrong things that when you find out who the killer is, it takes you by surprise. Great book, I look forward to reading the next one.

  26. 5 out of 5

    DelAnne Frazee

    Title: Biter Roots - Bitter Roots Mystery Book 1 Author: C. J. Carmichael Publisher: Tule Publishing Published: 4-25-2017 Pages: 206 Genre: Mystery, Thrillers & Suspense Sub-Genre: Adult Fiction; Crime; Police Procedural; ISBN: 9781945879906 ASIN: B01N7WS2JG Reviewed For NetGalley and Tule Publishing Reviewer: DelAnne Rating: 4.5 Starts Dispatcher Zak Waller prefers working behind the scenes in the Sheriff’s Office of Lost Trail, Montana, but when a newcomer to the sparely populated town is brutally Title: Biter Roots - Bitter Roots Mystery Book 1 Author: C. J. Carmichael Publisher: Tule Publishing Published: 4-25-2017 Pages: 206 Genre: Mystery, Thrillers & Suspense Sub-Genre: Adult Fiction; Crime; Police Procedural; ISBN: 9781945879906 ASIN: B01N7WS2JG Reviewed For NetGalley and Tule Publishing Reviewer: DelAnne Rating: 4.5 Starts Dispatcher Zak Waller prefers working behind the scenes in the Sheriff’s Office of Lost Trail, Montana, but when a newcomer to the sparely populated town is brutally murdered—and the Sheriff is quick to pin the death on an unknown outsider—Zak starts his own private sleuthing. On the surface Lost Trail is a picture-perfect western town, offering a simple way of life revolving around the local ranches and ski hill, but Zak knows the truth behind the façade. When his old school friend Tiff Masterson, whose family owns a local Christmas tree farm, moves back to town, the two of them join forces to get to the truth about the murder. I honestly don't remember getting this book. It is a lot more gory and darker than the mystery I usually pick up to read. Bitter Root was well written with strong chaacters. If you like in depth crime dramas then you will enjoy reading Bitter Roots. My rating of "Bitter Roots" is 4.5 out of 5 stars. Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N7WS2JG/... B&N Link: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bitt... GoodReads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3... The Reading Room Link: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.ph... Twitter Link: https://twitter.com/DelAnne531/status...

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Murder, Mystery, Romance & Intrigue! I loved this book! The author has created a charming, small western town where everybody knows everybody's business as the backdrop for an intriguing tale of homecoming, reunion, and murder. After a spectacular failure and meltdown at work Tiff Masterson is fired, dumped by her boyfriend, and travels extensively to escape her problems. When her money runs out, she has nowhere to go except the tiny, dying town she grew up in, where her mother and aunt still Murder, Mystery, Romance & Intrigue! I loved this book! The author has created a charming, small western town where everybody knows everybody's business as the backdrop for an intriguing tale of homecoming, reunion, and murder. After a spectacular failure and meltdown at work Tiff Masterson is fired, dumped by her boyfriend, and travels extensively to escape her problems. When her money runs out, she has nowhere to go except the tiny, dying town she grew up in, where her mother and aunt still run the family's Christmas Tree farm. But the peace Tiff is seeking eludes her. She finds her mother even more withdrawn and reclusive than ever, as she has been ever since the tragic deaths of her husband and son when Tiff was just a teenager. There is a new farm manager living in the guest house where she was hoping to live, who acts far too familiar with her mother and aunt for Tiff's taste, raising alarm bells in her head. On Halloween, the very night Tiff returns home, a woman is murdered and her body dumped behind the medical clinic where her aunt works part time. The victim is a newcomer to town, and was working at the tree farm. CJ Carmichael masterfully weaves the pieces of this story together, bit by bit, peeling back the layers of the townfolk, their histories, relationships to each other, their character strengths, flaws and secrets, into an intriguing tale of murder, mystery, and just a whisper of romance. Loved the character development, realistic dialog, plausible plotline, and the tantalizing way the author drew me into the story and into caring about the people of this little town. Can't wait to read the next one!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Philip

    I started book 1 of Ms Carmichael’s new trilogy because I have read and enjoyed her “Twisted Cedars” trilogy and if the next two books in this series are as good as this one I am sure I am going to enjoy “Bitter Roots” just as much. There sure is a lot going on in such a small town and there is also a fairly large cast of characters involved and I thought most of the characters were fairly well developed although we really don’t get to meet the perps too much and actually we never meet one of I started book 1 of Ms Carmichael’s new trilogy because I have read and enjoyed her “Twisted Cedars” trilogy and if the next two books in this series are as good as this one I am sure I am going to enjoy “Bitter Roots” just as much. There sure is a lot going on in such a small town and there is also a fairly large cast of characters involved and I thought most of the characters were fairly well developed although we really don’t get to meet the perps too much and actually we never meet one of them. Zak Waller is a very solid, complex and likeable character as is Tiff Masterson, Nadine Black grew much more likeable as the story rolled out, and even Sheriff Ford and Deputy Butterfield show some better qualities than first appear. The descriptions of location, weather and settings are all excellent and the writing flows smoothly with quite realistic dialogues. I’m not a great fan of a strong romantic element in a mystery novel but I thought the author really handled that part very well. The actual mysteries and murder really take a back seat to the family problems of most of the people but the family problem really proves to be the motive for the murder and that plot line has a very solid ending thanks to Zak’s work but there are a few stories that are not tied up at the end and of course that leads one to believe they may be continued in the next books. In the case of this book that is perfectly satisfactory as Ms Carmichael made it very clear from the start that this is book 1 of a trilogy. I just wish we didn’t have to wait so long for the next book.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lillian Cummings

    Zac Waller knows that he loves his job as a dispatcher at Lost Trail's sheriff's office so when he gets a call about a body been found this heat up. Not many murders happen in their town and the murder victim is a young woman that is new to town. Zac knows that the young woman worked at his friend's family farm. He knows that this will hit the farm hard as their staff are part of the family so he hopes that everyone will be okay. Tiff Masterson is back in town and she had no idea that things had Zac Waller knows that he loves his job as a dispatcher at Lost Trail's sheriff's office so when he gets a call about a body been found this heat up. Not many murders happen in their town and the murder victim is a young woman that is new to town. Zac knows that the young woman worked at his friend's family farm. He knows that this will hit the farm hard as their staff are part of the family so he hopes that everyone will be okay. Tiff Masterson is back in town and she had no idea that things had changed so much and she is surprised that there is a new farm manager and they have just found out that one of their new hires have been killed. Tiff wonders about the new manager Kenny as she doesn't know him but there is something about him that gets to her. Will she be able to get to the bottom of it. Zac knows that he shouldn't get this involved in the case especially;y now that it has taken a sinister turn and people that he knows could have had something to do with the young woman's murder. Will they find out who killed her and what secrets she had? A good read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Birgit

    Zak Waller, dispatcher in the little town of Lost Trail, Montana, prefers his quiet as dispatcher to that of a deputy. When the current Sheriff, however, is quick to dismiss the murder of a young woman, a newcomer, to something and someone from her past, Zak decides to do his own investigating. There's more going on in this little town than meets the eyes, and everyone seems to hide something... I liked this, I really did. Zak is way more intelligent than everyone gives him credit for, and Zak Waller, dispatcher in the little town of Lost Trail, Montana, prefers his quiet as dispatcher to that of a deputy. When the current Sheriff, however, is quick to dismiss the murder of a young woman, a newcomer, to something and someone from her past, Zak decides to do his own investigating. There's more going on in this little town than meets the eyes, and everyone seems to hide something... I liked this, I really did. Zak is way more intelligent than everyone gives him credit for, and although he first comes over a little weak (and too good to be true in his humbleness), the reader quickly discovers his quick brain, and his determination. The other, can I say: main protagonists, his childhood friend Tiff come back to town, the new deputy Natalie, and the other town members add their own bits and pieces and side plots to this story, none of them distracting from the main topic, the murder, but everything seemingly involved in one way or the other. Apart from murder, there is not a lot of the typical suspense, like more victims, car races, shootings, the detective getting hit over the head, etc., - you'll know what I mean. However, despite that, or because of it, the story unfolds with just enough clues (and red herrings) to keep the reader guessing and deducing together with Zak, Tiff, and Natalie. Storytelling - buildup and conclusion - at its best, with a good narration style and very sympathetic and realistic characters make this a good read, and have me want to get my hands on the next books in this series.

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