I stopped by a local bookstore several weeks ago and they were hosting local authors. This was a great surprise! Not only did I have the opportunity to purchase new books but I also had the opportunity to meet three local authors. One had written a child’s book, so I didn’t purchase it as I have no children at that age. The other two were murder mysteries. I have since finished one of the two books and starting the second one today.

Secrets by the Knoll by Julie Metros

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In the early 1900’s, Highland Park in Des Moines, Iowa was shocked by the murders of two children. The children were returning home following evening church when they were brutally attacked. This murder remains unsolved.  The Secrets by the Knoll is loosely based off this murder.

This story starts off modern day as a young women begins to learn about her family history. The reader is then transferred back in time and the story starts with you getting to know the family. Its a fun glimpse into the local history. It is obvious Metros spent a lot of time researching the area. I enjoyed her description of 1900’s neighborhood and city activities.

The characters are varied making the story interesting and easy to keep them straight in my head. I feel the male characters are best fleshed out. The dad’s love for his dead son is palpable. The middle son seems shady at best. I enjoyed how even some of the least important characters (like the coroner) got their own voice in the story.

Overall, I enjoyed reading a bit of local history woven into a murder mystery. I’ve not read many local stories so this was a fun escape. Its a quick read for a sunny afternoon on the porch.

I give this book a 4/5 bookends. I recommend this book for anyone who is looking for a local read or an historical fiction. There is mild violence, alcohol suggestion. It would be appropriate for an older teen.

Meeting the local authors and getting a signed copy of their books was a lot fun! This was only the second I’ve had the opportunity to meet an author and have it signed. I would love to do this more. I need to track down a good way to find and connect with authors!

What are you reading? Do you read local authors? If so, how do you find them? Leave a comment and let’s chat!

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