Review: Shadow Ridge by M.E. Browning

Title: Shadow Ridge by M.E. Browning
A Jo Wyatt Mystery Book One
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 395 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Death is one click away when a string of murders rocks a small Colorado town in the first mesmerizing novel in M. E. Browning’s A Jo Wyatt Mystery series.

Echo Valley, Colorado, is a place where the natural beauty of a stunning river valley meets a budding hipster urbanity. But when an internet stalker is revealed to be a cold-blooded killer in real life the peaceful community is rocked to its core.

It should have been an open-and-shut case: the suicide of Tye Horton, the designer of a cutting-edge video game. But Detective Jo Wyatt is immediately suspicious of Quinn Kirkwood, who reported the death. When Quinn reveals an internet stalker is terrorizing her, Jo is skeptical. Doubts aside, she delves into the claim and uncovers a link that ties Quinn to a small group of beta-testers who had worked with Horton. When a second member of the group dies in a car accident, Jo’s investigation leads her to the father of a young man who had killed himself a year earlier. But there’s more to this case than a suicide, and as Jo unearths the layers, a more sinister pattern begins to emerge–one driven by desperation, shame, and a single-minded drive for revenge.

As Jo closes in, she edges ever closer to the shattering truth–and a deadly showdown that will put her to the ultimate test.


The first installment in A Jo Wyatt Mystery series, Shadow Ridge by M.E. Browning is a suspenseful, atmospheric mystery.

Echo Valley, CO Detective Jo Wyatt is not certain college student Tye Horton’s death is a suicide.  She and fellow detective Jessup “Squint” MacAllister work the case as a homicide until the official cause of death is announced.  Jo gets off on the wrong foot with Quinn Kirkwood, the young woman who discovered Tye’s body.  Before his untimely death, Tye was a college student who also developed games.  The previous year, Quinn and Ronny Buck a beta tested one of Tye’s games.  Quinn, Ronny and Tye are also working together on their final assignment for one of their classes.  Jo is certain that Quinn is holding something back, but will she be able to convince the young woman to co-operate with her?

Jo is the daughter of a retired police officer and due to some personal issues, she is currently living with father. She is a twelve year veteran of the department and she works well with her co-workers. Despite her stellar work over the years, she appears to have hit the glass ceiling as she is passed over for a promotion by another officer with less experience and time on the job. Jo keeps her disappointment to herself and plans to try again when a sergeant position becomes available.

Jo is working long hours as she tries to learn the truth about Tye’s death. She and Squint locate his landlord who just happens to be District Attorney Zachary Walsenberg and his wife Alice. Jo also opens an investigation to find out who is internet stalking Quinn. She is hindered in the stalking case since she has little training in computer crimes. Jo also questions Ronny Buck about his relationship with the deceased but their conversation yields no new details. The investigation takes on new focus when Jo discovers another person helped test Tye’s game.  An earlier suicide and the shocking death of someone in the present provide added urgency to solve the case. And Quinn’s internet stalker begins doing more than just sending threatening emails.

Shadow Ridge is an intriguing mystery with a multi-layered storyline. Jo is a well-rounded, vibrantly developed character who immensely appealing. The dual investigations are interesting and move at a steady pace. Following a stunning revelation from an unexpected source, M.E. Browning brings this clever mystery to an action-packed conclusion.  I absolutely loved and highly recommend this outstanding introduction to the A Jo Wyatt Mystery series to readers of police procedurals.

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Filed under A Jo Wyatt Mystery, Contemporary, Crooked Lane Books, ME Browning, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Shadow Ridge, Suspense

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