Author: J.R. Erickson
Narrator: Margy Stein
Length: 9 hours and 18 minutes
Series: Northern Michigan Asylum Series, Book 3
Publisher: J.R. Erickson
Released: Oct. 15, 2019
Orla has a gift, an ability to sense things she touches: memories, traumas…murders.
On a sunny day in 1975, she sets off on a bike ride into the picturesque countryside and vanishes. She is not the first young woman to go missing and she will not be the last.
Ashes Beneath Her is the third novel in the stand-alone Northern Michigan Asylum Series.
J.R. Erickson (aka Jacki) is an indie author who writes murder mysteries woven with elements of the paranormal. Since childhood, J.R. has been fascinated by otherworldly things. She started penning creepy stories in her adolescence, but didn’t pursue a career in writing until her mid-twenties. Like most paths, J.R.’s has been winding and filled with detours.
Today, she lives in the forests of northern Michigan with her excavator husband and her critter-loving son. In addition to writing, J.R. teaches yoga, hosts the true crime podcast Bitter Endings, and spends every spare minute hanging with her family and her kitties.
Her latest series, the Northern Michigan Asylum Series, is inspired by a real former asylum in Traverse City. J.R. regularly visits the former asylum that has been partially renovated into shops, restaurants and condominiums.
Tenacious investigative reporter Abraham “Abe” Levitt is working on the biggest story of his career. The police won’t listen, but when the public reads his article, someone will have to listen… to stop a serial killer.
Six girls are missing. All blondes with green eyes, except Orla Sullivan, the last one. The disappearances happened over a two-hundred-mile radius. Different communities. Different police jurisdictions. No one has bothered to look for a connection, but Abe is sure there is one.
As he interviews family and friends of the missing girls, Abe meets Liz Minor, the mother of one of the missing girls, and Hazel, one of Orla’s roommates. Liz has never given up hope her daughter, Susan, would return to her, and Hazel’s psychic abilities push her forward to find Orla.
Backed by many in the community, these three will follow leads—some that lead to dead ends—and interview people while covering a good deal of northern Michigan, but in the end, all roads lead to the Northern Michigan Asylum for the Insane.
Ashes Beneath Her is my third trip to the Northern Michigan Asylum for the Insane and my favorite so far!
Though it starts slow with the disappearance of Susan Minor and the emotional rollercoaster Liz Minor rides, the story picks up the pace after Orla is taken and Abe enters the story.
Abe is a noble character. Knowing his story isn’t winning him any friends with law enforcement, he plods on, supported by his dad, a retired prosecutor, and driven by his own traumatic loss in his past.
Through a Tarot reading, Hazel knew Abe would seek her out and she’s more than ready to help with his investigation. Frustrated, her spirit wanes a time or two, but she’s determined to find out what happened to her friend. Abe doesn’t believe in Tarot readings or psychic mumbo-jumbo… but his beliefs will change.
Orla’s POV is heartbreaking. Her empathic gift has made her a prisoner. But though drugged, tested, tortured, abused, and starved, she never loses that spark that makes her Orla. I could feel her fear, frustration, and desperation… and her anger. It’s Orla who takes us to the “aha moment” where book title and story intersect… and she handled it better than I would have!
JR Erickson has a way with villains, and Byron Crowe is no exception. He’s cut from the same cloth as Kaiser (book 1) and Kemp (book 2) and it’s not a good look. Makes me wonder about ALL the doctors at the asylum.
Narrator Margy Stein nails this! She voiced characters with a smooth transition style, and her deep pitch heightened the danger and suspense… and creeped me out during scenes in the asylum!
Ashes Beneath Her delivered with great writing and spot-on narration.
I volunteered to review this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by J.R. Erickson. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
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