Set in Ireland and America, Sarah Stewart Taylor’s slowly simmering The Mountains Wild is the first entry in a new series featuring homicide detective Maggie D’arcy. A divorced mother of one living on Long Island, Maggie earned her investigative bona fides by solving a case involving a notorious serial killer that the FBI couldn’t crack.
Maggie originally felt called to become a detective after her cousin, Erin, vanished in the woods of Wicklow, Ireland, in the 1990s. At the age of 23, Maggie traveled there to look for Erin, but neither she nor the Irish police force, the Gardaí, could find her.
Decades later, Maggie remains haunted by her cousin’s disappearance. After Erin’s scarf is found by investigators searching for a woman named Niamh Horrigan, Maggie returns to Ireland—and reenters a maze of painful memories—to do some sleuthing. The authorities fear that a serial killer is at work and that Niamh may be latest his hostage.
Upon arriving in Dublin, Maggie meets up with her old friend Roly Byrne, a good-natured detective inspector, and becomes a temporary member of his investigative team. Together, they race to connect the pieces of the intricate mystery behind Niamh’s disappearance. The case becomes even more complicated when Maggie gets involved with former flame Connor Kearney, who was friends with Erin and may know more about her disappearance than he let on when he was originally questioned.
Taylor takes her time in unspooling the strands of the mystery, keeping the reader on edge all the while. Through transportive details of Dublin pubs and the Wicklow wilderness and a wonderful command of Irish history, she fashions an immersive setting for the narrative, which moves nimbly through the decades, flashing back to Maggie’s first trip to Ireland and providing glimpses of her friendship with Erin.
Featuring a memorable cast that includes cheeky Irish Gardaí, sinister suspects and a not-to-be-messed-with female lead, The Mountains Wild makes for perfect summer reading. Maggie is a first-class protagonist—an ace investigator and appealing everywoman with smarts and heart. Suspense fans will welcome her to the crime scene.