We left Tess Spencer and her attorney husband Thomas expecting their first child. We learn quickly in Trial by Twelve they named their daughter Miranda Brooke after the woman (Miranda Michaels) who rescued Tess in the unstable years of her youth. The original Miranda's health is failing quickly at the start of this story, and Miranda's daughter Charlotte has fast become Tess' best friend in her mother's place.
Thomas is offered a job he desperately wants and Tess works part-time at a health spa while Thomas' parents gladly watch little "Mira Brooke". When the spa's owner wants to build another swimming pool, the earth moving turns up human bones, and the search begins for the murderer.
Heather is excellent at misleading the reader with suspects although her clues do give us a chance to ferret out the killer. Tess is a natural born investigator, inserting herself into troubling situations. And not just any troubles but the kind that lead to her becoming a victim. Her Glock always at the ready, she does her best to be prepared for mayhem.
Thomas is beside himself with his wife's involvement in this case and comes to the point where he demands she desist from helping with her insights - which is fine with Tess after some scary episodes. However, Tess always finds a way to up the ante where her safety is involved, and somehow her best intentions backfire.
There are some laugh out loud moments in this story, and Thomas' parents, particularly his mom Nikki Jo, and his younger brothers provide the tapestry of a real family. Tess is devoted to them and they to her.
Heather gives snippets of romance between Thomas and Tess in her suspense novels which highlight their love, respect, and passion for one another. Refreshingly and honestly done.
Since the stories are told from Tess' first person point of view, she always notices her female counterparts by how they dress with detailed descriptions and self-deprecating comparisons.
Cleverly introduced in the first book of the series, Trial by Twelve begins with a letter and they continue at the beginning of each chapter. The title works perfectly, specifically referred to near the end of the book.
Heather Day Gilbert's voice plays very well for Tess. Her entertaining prose, story development with occasional humor, fleshed out, colorful, and interesting peripheral characters, emotional conflicts, touching moments, and multiple suspects provide quick reads with satisfying conclusions to the immediate mystery. Trial by Twelve leaves the reader with a new conflict to anticipate in Heather's next addition to the well done A Murder in the Mountains Series.
Father, you've blessed Heather with unique stories just for her to tell. Please continue to furnish what she needs to do what you designed for her. Encourage her all along the way. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.