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Review: Where All The Dead Lie by J.T. Ellison

Submitted by on September 16, 2011 – 8:15 am4 Comments

Book: Where All The Dead Lie
Author: J.T. Ellison
Released: September 20, 2011
Series: Taylor Jackson book 7
Source: Net Galley
Purchase: - Book Depository

The shot to the head didn’t kill Nashville homicide lieutenant Taylor Jackson. But it will crack her psyche and take her to the very edge.

In her showdown with the murderous Pretender, a bullet taken at close range severed the connection between Taylor’s thoughts and speech. Effectively mute, there’s no telling if her voice will ever come back. Trapped in silence, she is surrounded by ghosts—of the past, of friendships and trusts lost…of a lost faith in herself and her motives that night.

When Memphis Highsmythe offers Taylor his home in the Scottish Highlands to recuperate, her fiancé can’t refuse her excitement, no matter his distrust of the man. At first, Memphis’s drafty and singularly romantic castle seems the perfect place for healing. But shortly the house itself surrounds her like a menacing presence. As Taylor’s sense of isolation and vulnerability grows, so, too, does her grip on reality.


Someone or something is coming after Taylor. But is she being haunted by the dead…or hunted by the living?

J.T. Ellison quickly became one of my favorite thriller writers when I first read her exciting and addicting Taylor Jackson series nearly a year ago. Due to Mona Leigh’s review of THE IMMORTALS, my curiosity was peaked and I promptly went and bought  the five books that were then available to purchase. WHERE ALL THE DEAD LIE  was a most eagerly anticipated installment that I couldn’t wait to read after the shocking conclusion of the previous book.

Picking up shortly after where SO CLOSE THE HAND OF DEATH left off, readers are immediately thrown into Taylor’s world and after everything that happened–it is a much changed world.

Struggling with the aftermath of the shooting, her friends torture, the betrayal of trust in the relationship with her fiance, and of course her personal recovery from the bullet that hit her head, Taylor cannot find her voice when she most needs to communicate. But is it all due to her injury or is there more to it? The Doctors are telling Taylor her voice issue is more psychological than physical and refer her to a psychologist, which is not Taylor’s idea of therapy. Taylor has little choice in the matter. In order for her to be approved to return to light duty at work she must submit to the sessions.

Frustrated and mute she turns to her friend Memphis, the Scottish inspector who holds a torch for her, and begins to correspond with him via emails and instant messaging. When Memphis invites her to Scotland for a couple weeks to recover without the expectant eyes of her fiance and co-workers, it seems like the perfect idea. What is more, is it seems like Memphis has a friend that is also a psychologist that Taylor can meet with while there.

But once in Scotland, Taylor begins to really have problems. Her voice may be returning, but so are the ghosts from her past…literally.

I must admit, I was ready to push all responsibility aside and ignore everything until I had finished reading this book but it just wasn’t as gripping and consuming as some of Ellison’s previous works. The real star in this story is Ellison’s choice of setting, Scotland. The author did and amazing job of describing the country and really making it come alive for readers. So, it is little surprise that the parts that I enjoyed the most were the parts in Scotland but there is another smaller storyline going on in Nashville and Taylor’s fiance, Baldwin has parts told from his perspective that seemed a bit dull to me. I kept holding out hope that Taylor would allow Memphis to step up and have a real chance, but it never happened.

Regardless of how I personally had hoped the story line would have gone, the author did manage to answer some questions and give a decent resolution to the jaw-dropping ending of the previous book that I’m sure will please many. However, it seemed like there were many conversations that took place off page and I think the characters and book in general would have benefited from having them included. During the first half of the book it felt like we were getting a little of that however “one=sided” they may have been.

With so much going on and so much needing to be resolved from the previous book, by the time the ending came it felt rushed and glossed over. There were scenes after the climax where Taylor’s comments to others seemed slightly out of character–almost like reading a fan-fiction version of the author’s work. Since the character is this really amazing detective, I would expect more reasoning and investigative thinking than they was displayed. In fact, there is a scene where Taylor mentions to someone that she believes there was another involved in a conspiracy to harm her and the person says something to the effect of “they wouldn’t do that, now would you…?” and the accused answers “Oh, no sir!” and that is that. There wasn’t any further explanation .

For some people that may be perfectly fine, but it struck me as simply odd. There are a couple other instances following that one where Taylor acts more like a romance-heroine than kick-butt, crime-fighting thriller character. Am I being too critical? It is possible. J.T. Ellison is an award winning author who has the talent to make a reader forget the real world for 350-400 pages or so… after experiencing that “lost in reading” feeling first hand with all of  her other books, I have come to expect that standard of story-telling from each new addition.

Needless to say, this is not my favorite J.T. Ellison book, but with all that transpires in WHERE ALL THE DEAD LIE, it will prove an important installment to the series. Despite my issues with this book, I know I will be picking up the next installment to see what happens next!

Also reviewed by:  - Manic Reader

Day is a dreamer who has never met a stranger. She is fearless and will talk to anyone and read anything! She taught music and dance and was a singer/actress for years, performing on stages both nationally and overseas. Now married with children, she spends less time singing on stage and more time writing songs at home. But, family life has not completely slowed this chick down. She still loves an adventure and learning new things. She resides in Texas with her family, Great Dane (Sophie), Labradoodles (George & Cosmo) and Chihuahua (Juan Carlos).
Doll Day
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  • Mona Leigh says:

    Thanks for the review, Day. I haven’t had a chance to read this one yet, but like you said, it’s probably setting up a lot of good issues for the next book. With that in mind, I won’t be skipping it.

    Reply to this comment »
    • Doll Day says:

      No, this is not a book for fans of the series to skip. There is too much that needs to be answered, but I wasn’t as consumed by this story as I have been by the former ones. *Shrugs* But, definitely read it! I will be interested to hear your opinions.

      Reply to this comment »
  • [...] Someone or something is coming after Taylor. But is she being haunted by the dead…or hunted by the living? Read her review Here [...]

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  • [...] 2. Where All The Dead Lie by J.T. Ellison – You may be shocked to see this title on this list due in part to the fact that the previous book in the series made my list for favorite reads of 2011. As much as I adore this series (and LOVED the earlier book) this addition left more to be desired. There were moments that seemed rushed and others that just felt like they dragged, but the biggest disconnect I had was with the main character. (Read our review) [...]

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