Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones meets Sarah Addison’s Garden Spells in this striking southern debut featuring the ghost of a murdered cowgirl who guides her grief-stricken father and a disgraced former detective to her killer—and a long-hidden family secret.
When disgraced police detective Jo Beth Dawson comes to town, she wants only to watch the rodeo and crawl into a bottle, not necessarily in that order. But when she stumbles upon the body of young rodeo star Pony Jones, Jo Beth feels an otherworldly connection with the dead woman—and an irresistible compulsion to find her killer.
Pony herself, invisible to the eye but not to the sixth sense, guides her grief-stricken father, Titus, to Jo Beth’s side. Jo Beth and Titus are unlikely partners—two wary, broken people who are quick to judge and slow to trust—and their pursuit of Pony’s murderer unleashes a whirlwind of intense emotion and unexpected encounters. With every clue they uncover, dark family secrets are revealed, secrets that will tie the three of them closer than they could imagine.
Featuring psychologically complex characters and a richly layered examination of family, grief, and redemption, The Tender Mercy of Roses is an immensely satisfying read.
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