Back to the Garden by Laurie R. King (Mystery)

Writing: 4/5 Plot: 5/5 Characters: 5/5

Loved this book — a complete page turner with engaging characters, a twisted plot, and a hippie commune backstory that I just loved. Raquel Laing is an unintentionally non-conforming behavioral investigator for the SFPD — working on an old serial killer case (The Highwayman) when a body is unearthed from beneath a giant statue on the Gardener Estate outside of Palo Alto, California. The statue was erected 50 years ago — could this be another of the Highwayman’s victims?

This is the perfect kind of mystery for me — character driven, never boring but also never stressful (except for a short bit at the end), and a plot and backstory that never allow my interest to flag. Plenty of interesting psychological details on all the characters — including the serial killer lying in a hospital bed. I read a few of Laurie King’s Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes books a long time ago, but I didn’t like the premise (I don’t like books that add their own characters to existing fiction), but I liked this book so much I’m now planning on checking out her non Mary Russell books which look pretty interesting. This is a stand alone novel, though I do see opportunity for additional volumes!

Thank you to Random House Publishing Group — Ballantine, Bantam and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The book will be published on October 11th, 2022.