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Friday, September 11, 2020

All We Buried by Elena Taylor (VBT: Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for All We Buried by author Elena Taylor!

Book Review

All We Buried by Elena Taylor
Book 1: Sheriff Bet Rivers Mystery Series
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Publication Date: April 7, 2020
Format: Hardcover - 304 pages
                AudioBook - 8 Hours 51 Minutes
               Kindle - 1089 KB
               Nook - 1 MB
ISBN: 978-1643852911
ASIN (AudioBook): B085864RX2
ASIN (eBook): B07RQH353V
BNID: 978-1643853123
Genre: Mystery

Buy The Book:

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours.

Book Description:

For fans of Julia Keller and Sheena Kamal, All We Buried disturbs the long-sleeping secrets of a small Washington State mountain town.

Interim sheriff Elizabeth “Bet” Rivers has always had one repeat nightmare: a shadowy figure throwing a suspicious object into her hometown lake in Collier, Washington. For the longest time, she chalked it up to an overactive imagination as a kid. Then the report arrives. In the woods of the Cascade mountain range, right in her jurisdiction, a body floats to the surface of Lake Collier. When the body is extricated and revealed, no one can identify Jane Doe. But someone must know the woman, so why aren’t they coming forward?

Bet has been sitting as the interim sheriff of this tiny town in the ill-fitting shoes of her late father and predecessor. With the nightmare on her heels, Bet decided to build a life for herself in Los Angeles, but now it’s time to confront the tragic history of Collier. The more she learns, the more Bet realizes she doesn’t know the townspeople of Collier as well as she thought, and nothing can prepare her for what she is about to discover.

Book Excerpt:


Sheriff Bet Rivers leaned back in her chair and gazed out the office window at the shifting light on Lake Collier. Bright sunlight cast up sparkling diamonds as a late-summer breeze chopped the surface—turquoise-blue and silver. The fragment of a song from her childhood teased her mind—silver, blue, and gold. She hummed the tune under her breath.

Red and yellow leaves turned the maple trees in the park across the street into Jackson Pollock paintings. Hard to believe Labor Day weekend ended tonight. Somehow summer had slipped by and fall had snuck up on her as she tended to her new position.

If she had still been in Los Angeles, she’d have been a detective by now. Instead, she was back in her tiny hometown with a job her father had tricked her into taking.

“I need you to cover for me while I get chemo,” he said. “It’s just for a few months. I’m going to be fine.”

With the detective exam available only once every two years, it meant putting her career on hold. But her father had never asked her for anything; how could she say no?

He never said he would die, turning her “interim sheriff” position into something more permanent.

Her father always knew what cards to play. Competition. Family. Responsibility. Loyalty. Collier. A perfect straight. He’d used them all this time, as if he’d known it would be his last hand. No easy way to extricate herself now, short of gnawing off her own foot.

The sound of instruments tuning up pulled her attention to a trio set up at a bench outside the market across the street. The raised sidewalk and false front of the old building made the perfect backdrop for their performance. Collier relied on tourism for much of its income, and the local musicians encouraged visitors to stay longer and spend more.

A beat of silence followed by a quick intake of breath, the unspoken communication of musicians well attuned to one another, and the trio launched into song.

Church of a different sort. Bet could hear her father’s words. I don’t know if there’s a God, Bet, but I do believe in bluegrass.

The music produced a soundtrack to her grief. The banjo player favored the fingerpicking style of the great Earl Scruggs. Loss etched in the sound of three-part harmony, Earle Rivers’s death still a wound that wouldn’t close.

She recognized the fiddle player. She’d babysat him years ago. It made her feel old. Not yet thirty, she wasn’t, but as the last generation of Lake Collier Riverses, the weight of history fell heavy on her shoulders. In a line of sheriffs stretching back to the town’s founding, she was the bitter end.

Looking down at her desk, Bet eyed the new fly she’d tied. The small, barbless hook would work well for the catch-and-release fishing she did, and the bright yellow and green feathers pleased her. The only thing she’d missed while living in California. Surf fishing wasn’t the same.

I should name it in your memory, Dad. The Earle fly. Her grandfather had named him after Scruggs, but her grandmother added the e because she liked how it looked.

Bet imagined her father’s critical response to her work, the size of the hook too dainty for his memorial.

Bet “spoke” with her father more now, four months after his death, than she’d ever done when he lived. Another burden she carried. The conversations they’d never had. Things she should have asked but didn’t.

She took a deep breath of the dry, pine scent that drifted in through the open windows, filling the room with a heady summer perfume. She should get up and walk around, let the community see she was on the job, but her body felt leaden. And it wasn’t like anyone would notice. She could vanish for hours and it wouldn’t matter to Collier; no one required her attention. Not like they had depended on her father. His death still hung over town like a malaise, her presence an insufficient cure no matter what Earle might have believed when he called her home.

Before her father’s illness, she’d had a plan. First the police academy, then patrol officer, proving she could make it in Los Angeles as a cop. She’d envisioned at least twenty years in LA, moving up the ranks—something with Chief in the title— returning home with a long, impressive career before stepping into Earle’s shoes.

Too late, she’d realized he wouldn’t get better. He’d brought her home for good.

Stretching her arms above her head, she walked her fingers up the wall behind her, tapping to the beat of the music. Anything to shake off the drowsiness brought on by the hot, quiet day and long nights of uneasy sleep.

The coffee stand beckoned from across the street, but the sound of the front door opening and the low, throaty voice of the department’s secretary, Alma, stopped her from voyaging out. A two-pack-a-day smoker for almost forty years, Alma sounded a lot like Lauren Bacall after a night of heavy drinking. She’d given up smoking more than twenty years ago, but even now, as she edged into her seventies, Alma’s voice clung to the roughness like a dying man to a life preserver. Bet hoped the visitor only wanted information about the community and Alma could answer.

No such luck. The efficient clop of Alma’s square-heeled shoes clumped down the scarred floors of the hallway, a counterpoint to another set of feet. Bet brought her hands down off the wall and automatically tucked a wayward curl of her auburn hair back up under her hat before Alma arrived, poking her birdlike head around the wooden frame of the door. Gray hair teased tall, as if that would give her five-foot frame a couple extra inches.

“Bet?” Alma always said her name as though it might not be Bet Rivers sitting behind the enormous sheriff’s desk. Bet assumed Alma wished to find Earle Rivers there. She wondered how long that would last. If Bet threw the upcoming election and fled back to Southern California, leaving her deputy to pick up the reins, maybe everyone would be better off, no matter what her father wanted.

“Yes, Alma?” “I think you’d better listen to what this young man has to say.” The “young man” in question could be anywhere under the age of sixty in Alma’s book, and as he stood out of sight down the hallway, Bet had little to go on.

“Okay,” Bet said.

“I think it’s important.” Alma waited for Bet to show appropriate attention. “Okay.”

“Seems he found a dead body floating in the lake.”

My Book Review:

In All We Buried, book one of the Sheriff Bet Rivers Mystery Series, author Elena Taylor transports the reader to the small town of Collier, Washington, for an intriguing mystery story that will keep the reader guessing and turning the pages.

Four years ago, Elizabeth "Bet" Rivers left her small lakeside hometown of Collier, Washington, to become a patrol officer with the LAPD. Six months ago, Bet's father, Collier Sheriff Earle Rivers, called her home to become the interim Sheriff while he battled cancer. When her father suddenly died four months ago, Bet finds herself the Sheriff of the small town, up for election and challenged by Deputy Dale Kovac, and faced with her first homicide investigation. Bet needs to solve this case, and prove that she can follow in her father's footsteps.

As Bet delves into the case of a young female body found wrapped up in canvas and floating in Lake Collier, she soon discovers that her small hometown has deep dark secrets, and the more she learns, the more danger, potential motives, and suspects are added to the list, and one of them is determined to stop Bet before she uncovers and reveals all of their dark secrets.

Author Elena Taylor weaves a fast-paced and suspenseful tale that follows Bet's first homicide investigation as Sheriff of Collier. I loved reading this action-packed story. Bet's first foray into investigating a homicide case as Sheriff kept me intrigued as her investigative techniques were put to the test.

The reader will be easily drawn into this richly descriptive plot that will keep them guessing, as haunting secrets, and unexpected twists and turns are revealed. Bet's small hometown's deeply buried past comes to the surface as family secrets, a growing list of possible suspects, motives, and clues are uncovered. And if that's not enough, Bet has her own buried demons that she needs to face!

All We Buried has enough drama, tension, action, dark secrets, intrigue, a touch of romance, and unexpected twists and turns that will take the reader on one heck of a thrilling roller coaster ride.


About The Author

Elena Taylor lives on the banks of the middle fork of the Snoqualmie River in a town made famous by Twin Peaks. When she’s not writing or working one-on-one with writers as a developmental editor, she can be found hanging out with her husband, dog, and two cats. Her favorite place to be (besides home) is the stables down the road, with her two horses Radar and Jasper.

Author Website
Amazon Author Page

Contest Giveaway

Win A $20 Amazon Gift Card

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Elena Taylor. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Gift Card each. The giveaway begins on September 1, 2020 and runs through October 2, 2020. Void where prohibited. 

Virtual Book Tour Event

Tour Participants:

09/01 Review @ Tome Tender

09/02 Showcase @ Rabid readers book blog

09/03 Review @ Kritters Ramblings

09/04 Interview @ BooksChatter

09/05 Review @ Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

09/06 Showcase @ EienCafe

09/07 Showcase @ Sylv. net

09/08 Review @ Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!

09/09 Review @ Erica Robyn Reads

09/10 Review @ Jane Pettit Reviews

09/11 Review @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews

09/14 Review @ Reading A Page Turner

09/14 Showcase @ Im Into Books

09/15 Review @ From the TBR Pile

09/15 Review @ Novels N Latte

09/16 Showcase @ Celticladys Reviews

09/18 Interview @ Thoughts in Progress

09/18 Review @ Socrates Book Reviews

09/21 Review @ bless their hearts mom

09/22 Interview @ Blog Talk Radio

09/22 Review @ Just Reviews

09/22 Review @ Wall-to-wall Books

09/23 Review @ Quiet Fury Books

09/23 Review @ The World As I See It

09/23 Review/showcase @ Avonna Loves Genres

09/24 Interview/showcase @ CMash Reads

09/25 Review @ Nina_the_bookworm

09/28 Review @ Nesies Place

09/28 Review @ Quirky Cats Fat Stacks

09/29 Review @ A Room Without Books is Empty

09/29 Review/showcase @ The Bookwyrm

09/30 Guest post @ The Book Divas Reads


  1. I so wanted to read this book during the tour but I am so backlogged. But it's on my list to read in the near future.

    1. Hi Cheryl! I hear ya, my TBR list keeps growing daily. lol

  2. Terrific review! Thank you for hosting me on your wonderful blog.
    Elena Taylor

    1. Hi Elena! Thank you for the opportunity to feature your book on my blog. Can't wait to read the next book in the series.