Thursday, April 14, 2011

Review: The Mountains Bow Down

The Mountains Bow Down
Sibella Giorello

Series or Stand Alone: Raleigh Harmon series, book four

Series Order: The Stones Cry Out, The River Runs Dry, The Clouds Roll Away

Release Date: March 2011

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Pages: 336

Author Site:

My Rating: 3.75/5

Source: Received for review from Litfuse Publicity Group


Everything's going to work out. Time away always makes things better... That's what FBI Special Agent Raleigh Harmon believes as she boards a cruise to Alaska. A land of mountains and gems and minerals, the Last Frontier is a dream destination for this forensic geologist who's hoping to leave behind a hectic work schedule and an engagement drained of romance. But when a passenger goes missing and winds up dead, Raleigh's vacation suddenly gets lost at sea. The ship's security chief tries to rule the death a suicide, but Raleigh's forensics background points to a much darker conclusion; somewhere onboard, a ruthless murderer walks free. Engulfed by one of her toughest cases yet, Raleigh requests assistance from the FBI and receives her nemesis - handsome Special Agent Jack Stephanson. As the cruise ship sails through the Inside Passage, Raleigh has five days to solve a high-profile murder, provide consultation for a movie filming onboard, and figure out her increasingly complicated feelings for Jack - who might not be as arrogant as she originally thought. And that's only her work life. Family offers even more challenges. Joined on the cruise by her mother and aunt, Raleigh watches helplessly as disturbing rifts splinter her family. Like the scenery that surrounds the cruise ship, Raleigh discovers a mystery so daunting that even the mountains might bow down before it.


Raleigh Harmon is on a much needed vacation on a cruise to Alaska. The company may not be ideal but the break from work is certainly welcomed. Her eccentric aunt has arranged Raleigh to be a consultant for a movie being filmed on the cruise. The lead actor is supposed to be an FBI agent in the movie but his acting skills might get in the way of the movie actually being good. But when the actor’s wife is found hanging off the side of the giant ship Raleigh’s vacation becomes no more. Although most believe the woman’s death is a suicide Raleigh finds more and more evidence that a killer is loose on the ship.

To make matters more difficult, Special Agent Jack Stephanson is called in to help Raleigh with the murder case. Raleigh simply doesn’t have time to pick apart her complicated feelings for Jack. She’s got a limited amount of time to solve the murder, find the killer, and keep her mother from completely falling apart.

Raleigh is such a great character. I really liked her in Giorello’s previous novel and she didn’t disappoint this time around either. I definitely don’t envy Raleigh’s life although parts of it are so fascinating. Raleigh is a forensic geologist and The Mountains Bow Down was full of really interesting facts and details that brought in Giorello’s knowledge of geology. The information added a lot of credibility to Raleigh’s character and I really enjoyed reading it.

Not only does Raleigh have to solve a murder but she has to battle her feelings for Jack. Now I don’t honestly remember much of Jack from the previous novel or much of Raleigh’s fiance’ DeMott. I’ll probably have to go back and re-read. However, I was still able to feel the tension between Jack and Raleigh although I couldn’t really remember what had happened between them. Honestly Jack won me over. He’s cute, quick-witted, and funny but can be very protective, loyal, and caring as well. He must have been a jerk to poor Raleigh for her to feel so conflicted towards him. There were times when I wish she would have given in but she’s got some major will-power.

Also on Raleigh’s mind is her mother. Again, I’m getting peeved at myself for not recalling any previous knowledge of Giorello’s prior novel. Apparently Raleigh’s mother is extremely fragile. Her state of mind borders on the line of breaking and Raleigh takes great care to keep her mother calm. This cruise definitely takes their relationship and her mother’s mind for a roller coaster ride. It’s both heart-breaking and scary to see and I’m interested to see what happens for both Raleigh and her mother in Giorello’s next installment.

The Mountains Bow Down is an excellent novel. It’s so easy to get lost in Giorello’s writing. Although there are previous novels in the series, I still think The Mountains Bow Down can be read as a stand-alone.

P.S. (cover talk)

It’s very nice to look at. I like how it ties in with both the story and the title. I really love the whole cover theme to the series. I also really adore the titles. They’re very creative and unique.


LuAnn said...

I also loved this book. I'm such a fan of Sibella! I've read one other of her books and plan to order the other two.

Sibella said...

P.S. I love this review. :-)

Thank you, Mishel.


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