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‘Through A Yellow Wood’ by Carolyn J. Rose

Check out the book‘THROUGH A YELLOW WOOD’

Seven months after cheating death in the dark waters of Hemlock Lake, Dan Stone discovers a search dog trainer and his dogs shot down at a remote cabin in the Catskill Mountains. Only one young dog, badly wounded, survives the attack.

No longer wearing a badge and intent on rebuilding the family home and making a life with Camille, Dan feels an obligation of blood to Clarence Wolven, a distant relative. He arranges the funeral and adopts the three-legged dog he names Nelson.

When the sheriff’s investigation stalls, Dan returns to the cabin with Jefferson Longyear. They feel the presence of Clarence’s angry ghost and Nelson bolts into the forest. Trailing him deep into rugged “forever wild” land, they discover a serial killer’s dump site.

That grisly find is just the first. As summer wears on, Dan suspects the killer is taunting him and may even be someone he knows. Goaded by a ghost he only half believes in, Dan is drawn deeper into the investigation until his life and that of a young girl depend on a dog’s loyalty and a sniper’s aim.

Meet The Author – CAROLYN J. ROSE

Photograph of author Carolyn J. RoseCarolyn is  the author of more than a dozen novels, including the ‘Subbing isn’t for Sissies’ series (No Substitute for Murder. No Substitute for Money and No Substitute for Maturity), and this, the ‘Catskill Mountains Mysteries’ (Hemlock Lake, Through a Yellow Wood and more recently The Devil’s Tombstone).

She grew up in New York’s Catskill Mountains and graduated from the University of Arizona. She then logged two years in Arkansas, with Volunteers in Service to America and spent twenty five years as a television news researcher, writer, producer and assignment editor, in Arkansas, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington.

She founded the Vancouver Writers’ Mixers and is an active supporter of her local bookstore, ‘Cover to Cover’. Together with fellow author and husband, Mike Nettleton, Carolyn is proactive about supporting local (and some not-so-local) writers, putting on mini-workshops for libraries, book fairs and pretty much anyone who asks, who fits into her schedule.

Her interests are reading, gardening, swimming and NOT cooking.

Catch up with Carolyn at her website

Chat with Carolyn on her blog

Like Carolyn on Facebook

Follow Carolyn on Twitter

WORDS FROM THE BOOK

I knew first-hand there was something to be said for having secrets laid bare and dissected. That process allowed for healing, closure.

Times were simpler then and ignorance was bliss.

If you can’t change it, find a way to cope with it.

There are a hundred little forks in our roads every day and each choice can affect the next one. If we don’t think before we step, we might end up a long way from where we intended to be – from where we wanted to be.

THE ROAD NOT TAKEN by ROBERT FROST

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
.
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
.
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
.

MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THE BOOK

“You can take the man out of the job, but you can’t take the job out of the man.”

On my return trip to the small, insular and inward looking community that is Hemlock Lake, I discovered that things had moved on since my last visit, yet at the same time life seemed to have stood still, as if waiting with baited breath for the next event which would shake the spiritless residents out of their apparent apathetic and lethargic state. Hemlock Lake harbours many deep and well buried secrets, which Carolyn offers tantalising hints at, although stripping away the many layers from the deep and complex characters she has developed, can be quite some challenge.

Following the previous year’s horrific incidents at Hemlock Lake and the treacherous lies and deceits committed against him by his own family, former police officer Dan Stone has decided to return to the place of his childhood permanently, to try and make a new life for himself and his partner, Camille. The relationship between Dan and Camille has blossomed and flourished after careful nurturing, although it is to be tested when the teenage children of the man who posed such a threat to them, just one short year ago, are left in the couples care by their cancer stricken grandmother. Dan and Camille, who are themselves about to become new parents for the first time, step up to the mark amazingly well, although Carolyn does a great job at making certain to include many of the challenges and accusations levelled at parents by their adolescent offspring, just to test their resolve and dedication, before each party declares mutual acceptance of the situation and the arrangement becomes permanent.

In the midst of this domestic turmoil, it isn’t long before Dan’s new found civilian status is tested. Once again, the murder victim is another member of his own family, albeit a distant one. So with blood being thicker than water, Dan feels compelled to become involved in the murder investigation, it has to be said, with the eager approval of his former bosses, who are never really destined to gain access to the inner sanctum of this close knit community, in order to gain its trust and cooperation. The suspects begin to pile up thick and fast and when things take a macabre turn for the worse, I was with Dan in wondering just how many murderers we were looking for and who the next victim might be! Especially when history seems to be about to repeat itself and Dan’s own new family is threatened.

I had a list of two or three suspects, but kept vacillating between them, with each new and more gruesome discovery and of course the many red herrings with which Carolyn liberally sprinkled the story. I did eventually select the correct suspect from amongst my candidates, but it was only a matter of pages before the big reveal, so it probably doesn’t count!

This complex and suspenseful story, woven around a relatively small group of people, highlights the best and worst of human nature, although whether or not because of Dan, Camille and a handful of residents who are eager to embrace change, attitudes perceptibly soften as events unfold, with emotions become less raw, despite the palpable fear amongst the community.

When Dan is able to help long term friend Jefferson Longyear, who had been an invaluable help and stabilising influence to Dan during the investigation, cement a future together with one of the most stubborn and defiant matriarchs in town, then you know that change is on the horizon!

In ‘Through A Yellow Wood’, Carolyn has got the balance between a character and plot driven storyline just right and she deals with the emotional aspects of events with great perceptiveness and pathos, whilst still maintaining a sense of objectivity and purpose.

Through A Yellow Wood, is the second book in the Catskill Mountains Mystery trilogy, with the final book The Devil’s Tombstone, waiting in line on my Kindle, courtesy of author Carolyn J. Rose.

Check out my review of ‘Hemlock Lake’, the first book in the series.

*All three books in the series work well as individual stand alone stories.

As this was an author invitation to read and review, a Kindle download of  Through A Yellow Wood was sent to me free of charge, by its author, Carolyn J. Rose.

This in no way influenced any comments I may have expressed about the book, in any blog article I have posted. Any thoughts or comments are my own personal opinion and I am in no way being monetarily compensated for this, or any other article.

I personally do not agree with ‘rating’ a book, as the overall experience is all a matter of personal taste, which varies from reader to reader. However some review sites do demand a rating value, so when this review is posted to such a site, it will attract a 4 out of 5.

 

Written by
Yvonne

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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8 comments
  • This sounds like an excellent story and a series I’m sure I’d enjoy. (I liked the books Carolyn co-authored with her husband, though a totally different genre) Is it terrible, though, that the opening paragraph at the top of your entry broke my heart, envisioning the slain dogs? That could almost put me off the book.

    I’m glad you enjoyed it!

    • Hi Kelly,

      I haven’t read any of the co-authored books yet, but I do enjoy Carolyn’s solo style of writing.

      I was a little taken aback at just how many crimes and murders could happen in such a small place as Hemlock Lake and that’s without all those about to happen in the third book in the trilogy no doubt! However Carolyn assured me that it is indeed quite feasible and not at all out of the question, so I shall simply enjoy the books for the excellent murder mysteries that they are!

      The chapter featuring the discovery of Clarence’s body and those of his slain dogs, is indeed quite graphic and I can quite see how, as a confirmed doglover, you might be a little upset. However, if you focus on the one dog found alive and see just how tenderly loved and cared for he is, by Dan and Camille, your faith in human nature might just about be restored.

      Please don’t let it put you off reading the book, or indeed the series, it really is rather good 🙂

    • It certainly was and given the nature of some of the murders, I am not sure how this one can be bettered by ‘The Devil’s Tombstone’ which is the final part of the trilogy, although I do love the title and am intrigued to know more!

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by and I hope that you have a good weekend.

  • Yvonne, thank you for such a comprehensive review, and for displaying the poem that inspired the title and one of the themes of the book. I treasure your reviews because you offer such in-depth analysis and because you take so much time and care so deeply about reading, writing, and story-telling.

    • Hi Carolyn,

      Even though reviewing a book, or for that matter anything else, is always rather a subjective exercise by its nature, as one can only offer up a personal opinion, I do always try to be objective in the comments I write and the observations I make. I cannot see any point in vilifying a book or its author, unless there is a technical reason to do so, such as bad editing or an obviously poor storyline.
      .
      I often don’t offer up an opinion as to whether or not I enjoyed a book, but rather an analysis of a writing style or storyline, which might help someone to decide if a particular book might be for them or not. Although I often think that this may make my reviews rather lengthy and a little boring, not to say more difficult to compile!

      Having said all that, I genuinely did enjoy ‘Through A Yellow Wood’, possibly slightly more than ‘Hemlock Lake’, as the characters seemed a little more defined and fleshed out this time around.

      I shall look forward to reading the concluding episode to this trilogy, ‘The Devil’s Tombstone’, especially as Dan is now a part-time investigator assigned to cold cases, which is a great twist and new angle for this story.

      Keep the stories coming and I promise I shall get around to reading one of yours and Mike’s joint ventures, one of these days. Have a great weekend. 🙂

  • I’d completely forgotten that I have Hemlock Lake on my Kindle to read, so thanks for reminding me via your post. I’ll put it on the list to read soon.

    • Hi Cath,

      You really should try and make a time slot to read ‘Hemlock Lake’, I am sure that you won’t be disappointed. ‘Through A Yellow Wood’ makes a great second part to the trilogy and I now almost wish that I had read them back to back, to keep continuity with the characters. I shall make a point to read the final episode in the trilogy, ‘The Devil’s Tombstone’, very soon.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment and I hope that you are enjoying your weekend.

Written by Yvonne

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