J.T. Ellison’s new novel picks up almost where SO CLOSE THE HAND OF DEATH leaves off. It’s a roller coaster of a book, which will please and definitely surprise her readers. Ellison walks a fine line here, changing things up a bit while resolving some plot lines and creating a new one or two.
"It’s a roller coaster of a book, which will please and definitely surprise [Ellison's] readers."
WHERE ALL THE DEAD LIE opens with Nashville Homicide Detective Taylor Jackson in dire straits, physically and emotionally as well as personally and professionally. Overcome with guilt after the events of SO CLOSE THE HAND OF DEATH, coupled with her near-fatal injuries, she finds herself reluctantly undergoing therapy for a psychological conversion disorder that has left her unable to speak. At the same time, her relationship with fiancé John Baldwin is in trouble, due to the combination of her injuries and Baldwin’s own secrets that have opened a rift between the two.
Taylor is also being pressured by Memphis Highsmythe, who has made no secret of his attraction toward her. When he learns of Taylor’s problems, Highsmythe invites her to his palatial estate in Scotland in order to undergo therapy and recuperate. While Taylor has mixed feelings and questions her own motives when considering the invitation, she ultimately accepts, which understandably widens the rift between herself and Baldwin. All is not well in Scotland, though. While Highsmythe is the perfect host, and Taylor is not entirely resistant to his company, something is amiss in his family’s castle. The therapy that Highsmythe arranges is initially beneficial to her, but as she slowly regains her ability to speak, she is troubled by nightmares and hallucinations to the extent that she becomes unable to distinguish fantasy from reality. When a sudden blizzard makes travel from Highsmythe’s castle all but impossible, Taylor finds herself almost on her own while defending herself from an unexpected plot against her.
Meanwhile, back in Nashville, the homicide team struggles to carry on without her against a bank robber whose activities promise to send the city into chaos. A series of earth-shaking revelations --- on both sides of the Atlantic --- results in Taylor making some decisions that undoubtedly will affect future volumes of the series.
WHERE ALL THE DEAD LIE is a bit of a departure from the other novels in the Taylor Jackson series, given that the focus is somewhat more on the romantic elements of the storylines that have been building over the course of several books. That is not to say that the mystery and thriller aspects that Ellison is known for are given short shrift. On the contrary, there are a number of mysteries at its core and several startling revelations at its conclusion. Expect to see an interesting shift or three in the series from this point forward, with Taylor not lacking for attention or antagonists.