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The Mountains Bow Down

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  • Posted September 6, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    I loved the storyline!

    FBI Special Agent Raleigh Harmon, a forensic geologist, sets sail on a cruise to Alaska with her mom, her aunt, and her aunt's funny friend. What appears to start out as a fun vacation quickly turns into a working vacation when a mystery is uncovered on the ship. Raleigh, who was taking a much needed break from her job and her fiance, soon finds herself and her loved ones entangled in a mysterious situation as she investigates a murder with a high profile actor involved. This is loaded with excitement around every corner. I loved the storyline!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 31, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Has Element of an Exciting Thriller Novel!

    I believe that the best Christian fiction are those that teach you something without coming off as preachy and holier-than-thou. This book, The Mountains Bow Down by Sibella Giorello, is a perfect example of a Christian-oriented novel that subtly blends fiction with Christianity. The story is about Raleigh Harmon, a workaholic FBI agent who goes on a vacation (sort of) and gets on a cruise, only to find herself caught in the middle of a mysterious death of another passenger that she stubbornly insists is not just a simple case of suicide, despite popular belief.

    Fast-paced, riveting, and emotionally-charged, this story will take the reader to an intense ride through an Alaskan cruise, following Raleigh as she struggles to work out the mysterious death of a co-passenger, the worsening rift in her family, and the disconcerting presence of former rival and now co-investigator for the passenger's death Special Agent Jack Stephanson.

    Raleigh seems to be the woman every girl wants to grow up to be: Beautiful, brave, intelligent, and strong. However, what a young girl does not know is that every woman has her share of problems, and Raleigh's in particular, is very heavy. This story shows that beneath her seemingly perfect facade is a cracked mirror that she tries hard to stop from shattering. This emotionally-charged book explores a person's faith in faith, that when everything seems impossible, it is the time when God's presence is felt the most.

    But far from the very serious tone of the synopsis and theme, this book is full of humorous quips and observations, contributed by the various characters all equally vivid and realistic. Each person affects the story in no small way, every action and dialogue contributing to the tumultuous ending. Reading about each character, the reader will feel like he/she has known that person personally, like that character is standing right in front of you and addressing you instead of the other person that he/she is supposed to be interacting with in the book.

    Raleigh's voice is consistent with her personality and the flow of her story. She gives a fast-paced account of her adventure and reflects constantly about her actions. We understand that she is a very introspective person. And we also learn that far from being the woman who has an answer to everything, we see how vulnerable she is. This significant aspect of the book is what allows the Christian values and lessons to peek through the pages, without sounding too self-righteous, even a non-believer would approve.

    If you are tired of the usual suspense thriller fare offered by other contemporary writers that seem to have 'less soul,' I highly recommend that you read this book. It has every element that an exciting thriller novel has, but this offers more: heart, soul, and faith.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 8, 2011

    Good Thriller

    I have featured The Mountains Bow Down (A Raleigh Harmon Novel) by Sibella Giorello in my previous post before. After reading the summary, I was quite excited to finally receive this book and read it. Raleigh Harmon is an FBI Special Agent and forensic geologist who is off on a cruise to Alaska. Acting as a consultant for a movie being filmed on board, she hopes to have time to explore the beauties of the mountains of Alaska. She is joined on this cruise by her mother, who has a mental condition, and her aunt who is a specialist in crystals. She also saw this cruise as a time to get away from her fiancee. Little did she know that even on this fantastic Alaskan cruise, her skills as a forensic geologist will be put to use. The wife of the movie actor that she is consulting for dies on the cruise. The ship's chief of security is quick to rule it a suicide, but she believes it's a murder. Not wanting to let a murderer go free, her planned vacation has now turned to work for her. MY THOUGHTS Sibella Giorello writes beautifully. She has a gift for writing beautiful descriptions of the scenic places in Alaska that feels like you are actually experiencing it yourself. Her character, Raleigh Harmon, is highly skilled in her profession as an FBI agent but she is made real with her struggles with her family, her fiancee and the other FBI agent who was sent to assist her. I feel that I really got to know this character very well. I also liked the way she developed the mystery in this book. It was very interesting to follow every clue with Raleigh. This book has components of mystery, thriller, love story and the complications of family relationships that makes this a worthwhile read. There are only a couple of things that I was disappointed with. I felt that the ending was just too complicated and came at me so fast. I mean, after slowly solving the mystery through the book and following it with excitement, suddenly there was this ending that had such a complicated story with it. The other thing that I found to be a negative was the way the Filipino crew on the ship was portrayed. Being a Filipino myself, I find it hard to believe that Filipinos on cruise ships answer in one-word English as was portrayed in the book. Although, she was ably assisted by a Filipino-American bartender towards the end of the story, this FilAm bartender says that he is American, not Filipino. The Mountains Bow Down is her 3rd book in A Raleigh Harmon novel. Check out other reviews in this Litfuse Blog Tour. Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book through Litfuse Publicity in exchange for a review.

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  • Posted June 20, 2011

    satisfactory, but not my cup of tea

    I have yet to find a crime/detective novel that's written in the first person narrative that is edge-of-the-seat gripping and is so good it keeps me up all night reading. While it's nice to get a deeper insight into what the main character is all about, it tends to get to a point wherein all that self-evaluation gets in the way of the mystery angle and just takes the focus out from what the book is supposedly about-or is that what the book is supposedly about and I'm just missing the whole glaring point?

    Sibella Giorello's The Mountains Bow Down follows FBI Agent, Raleigh Harmon, on a vacation cruise to Alaska. Only, the death of a famous actor's wife on board cuts the much-needed downtime too soon and plunges the protagonist into an investigation that took more than her supposed free time away-it may have just ruined what little was left of her personal life.

    I did not really like Raleigh very much since she tends to be (too) judgmental of people, labeling them with names that may have been slightly humorous at first, but just got annoying in the long run. Now, that's one part of her that I did not really need to see. While she did redeem this part of her character in some way at some point, it was all too late for me to change my opinion about her entirely. It may have lessened the initial dislike, though, but that's just as far as I can get. Especially since she more than once depicted Filipino bartenders as dimwitted-unless they grew up in America. That particular bit almost ruined this whole book for me. :\

    But I'm not one to just quit on a book based on my personal opinions, nor the personal opinions of the protagonist for that matter. And I must say, this book did have some good points when it comes to Christian and family values. The mystery was well-wrapped up, although I cannot say the book has efficiently built the tension up to the big denouement. The absence of a varying point of view or two leaves the reader to the mercy of Raleigh's assumptions, occasionally laced with her own personal biases. At least, there was her partner, Jack Stephanson, to lighten up the mood once in a while. He was the only character I found remotely likable in this whole deal.

    The bits of information on stones and FBI procedures were amusing and were in fact one of the main reasons I kept reading. Perhaps, I may have expected a little too much from this book. Or maybe it was just that I found it hard to really get into it after that jab at my race's intellectual capacity. Maybe, in another time and mood, I may actually find this novel more than acceptably average. For now, I don't really feel like it was my cup of tea.

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  • Posted June 3, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    An intriguing murder mystery with plenty of romantic tension

    While The Mountains Bow Down is part of a series, it can be read as a standalone novel. I certainly had no problems in understanding the events of the story even though I read it out of order. On the whole, the story was rather enjoyable but it didn't exactly light a fire in me where I wanted to read the next book immediately. The ending leaves enough loose ends to get me curious about the next case and the events surrounding the heroine's personal life but not so much that I'd be compelled to rush for the book. What I really liked about The Mountains Bow Down was the romantic tension between Raleigh and her partner on the case, Jack. It's definitely easy to see that there's something going on between the 2 main characters despite both their attitudes. And in the beginning, it's this tension that actually sustains the story. It was certainly more exciting than the case they were investigating. The other thing I liked about the tale was how the murder mystery kept me guessing until the end. The investigation plods along at a methodical pace and does eventually get solved and there are actually plenty of clues if you know where to look. Unfortunately, I didn't and neither did Raleigh until the end. Its no wonder as well because of the natural assumptions people makes. What I couldn't like though was how Raleigh handled her personal relationships. There's just something wishy-washy about how she keeps lying to herself especially regarding her mother and her fiance. The other thing was the explanations relating Raleigh's field of expertise, which was geology. I admit they went completely above my head though someone else might find these rather interesting. Still, this were enough elements in the story to engage my interest until the end and put it on the list of reads I liked.

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  • Posted May 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Murder On A Cruise Ship, Tight Mystery with Many Suspects!

    I had the privilege of interviewing Sibella Giorello, on our radio show "Kingdom Highlights", for her new book, "The Mountains Bow Down" Book Four in the Raleigh Harmon series published by Thomas Nelson.

    Raleigh Harmon, FBI Special Agent and Forensic Geologist, is on a cruise to Alaska with her mother, Aunt and her aunt's friend. This is a free cruise as Raleigh is technically, a consultant for a movie company filing on board ship, which is how she received the free tickets. Everything is going fine until a woman's body is discovered hanging off the rear of the ship. Turns out the woman is the wife of the lead actor of the movie company and the ship's security officer thinks it is a suicide. Raleigh thinks it is murder but she has no authority to investigate.

    Looking for help she receives Jack Stephanson, an agent she has worked with before that she doesn't particularly like. Now she has to deal with opposition from the ship's head of security, all manner of red herrings and other events that tie into the murder but do not actually lead anywhere and she has four days to discover who did it and why before the ship docks and all the passengers disembark.

    I did not want to put down "The Mountains Bow Down". This book is like they used to write murder mysteries in the sixties, with all kinds of people who had lots of motive and twists and turns galore. There are a number of great themes in this book one of which is family. Raleigh loves her family in opposition to the phoniness of the movie people. Raleigh wants to know who killed the woman because no one else seems to even care that she is dead. Everyone needs a champion and Raleigh Harmon is a good one. Ms. Giorello has created a winner with this series. I started with this book and am no eager to go and read the others in this series. If you like a good mystery with twists and turns and some heart racing action then this is the book for you. I recommend this book highly and am looking forward to the next book in the series.

    If you missed the interview for "The Mountains Bow Down" and would like to listen to it and/or other interviews as well please go to Kingdom Highlights where it is available On Demand.

    To listen to 24 Christian music please visit our internet radio station Kingdom Airwaves

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  • Posted May 12, 2011

    The Mountains Bow Down

    'The Mountains Bow Down' is the first book by Sibella Giorello that I have come across and after reading it I am surely going to catch up with the other two- 'The Rivers Run Dry' and 'The Clouds Roll Away'. What a plot! Ne of the best settings for a murder mystery is a cruise ship and the way Giorello moves the plot along, you really aren't sure who the real killer is until the end. The plot gives nothing away while maintaining a steady flow.
    Apart from being a murder mystery another thing that this books stands out for is the vivid and often detailed description of Alaska. Sibella Giorello's talent for description has been displayed throughout. I have never been to Alaska but after reading 'The Mountains Bow Down' my interest in Alaska has increased tenfold.
    This is an excellent book and anyone will enjoy it. I give it a 4 out of 5.

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  • Posted April 9, 2011

    Review of The Mountains Bow Down by Sibella Giorello

    In The Mountains Bow Down, the latest in the Raleigh Harmon series, Raleigh hopes to find some quiet time on her own during an Alaskan cruise. For a geologist, this was to be an ideal location, providing boundless opportunities to examine rocks and minerals. When a passenger turns up dead, though, Raleigh finds herself involved in a murder investigation. She must work with ship security to find the killer before the end of the cruise. With limited resources and little time, Raleigh requests assistance from the FBI; her help comes from Jack Stephanson, someone with whom Raleigh is quite familiar. Unfortunately, the investigation is not her only challenge. Raleigh must also face problems with her mother and aunt, who have accompanied her on the cruise.

    Although latter parts of a series can become increasingly tiresome, Sibella Giorello manages to avoid this in The Mountains Bow Down. Giorello does maintain the cozy mystery tradition of an enclosed populace, such as a small town-in this case, a cruise ship-but Giorello goes far beyond a simple cozy mystery in her books. With her experience in geology, she is able to provide a technical aspect to her writing that is missing from many works. Her main character, Raleigh, is somewhat nontraditional as well in that she is young, single, and a professional investigator; this makes Giorello's mysteries much more exciting, however, and less cozy in that they include more excitement than the average cozy mystery. Above all, one aspect of the cozy mystery in which Giorello excels is in the realm of character development and the emotional involvement of the reader. Her ability to create intense scenes that manage to avoid the maudlin make Giorello's books powerful, involving books as well as fun mysteries. Through her Raleigh Harmon series, Sibella Giorello has written books that would entice both the mystery lover, along with the more traditional female reader who enjoys dramatic fiction.

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  • Posted March 31, 2011

    Enjoyable Christian Mystery

    This is the first book that I have read from this author. This book is about an FBI agent by the name of Raleigh Harmon who is on vacation with her family. This book has many things going on at the same time. Raleigh has doubts about her fiancé and she also wants to keep from her mother the fact that she works for the FBI. They are on a cruise ship headed to Alaska when tragedy strikes. Judy Carpenter, wife of a famous actor, is found hanging from a rope. It is first believed to be a suicide, but quickly turns into a murder case. Raleigh Harmon is on board and the story takes off from there. This novel is billed as a Christian mystery fiction. The character development was strong, her descriptive ability amazing, and the plotline was engaging! Her descriptive ability made me perceive, feel and experience all the things that her main character was seeing! The romance and the family issues kept the book alive, believable and enjoyable to read. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.

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  • Posted March 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Love Female FBI Agent Raleigh's Honesty

    I was so thankful to receive a review copy of such an exciting, fun, suspenseful, and heartfelt novel. I enjoyed reading about Raleigh, a female FBI agent, who specializes in fore4nsic geology and is good at what she does. Sibella went to school to be a geologist so its fascinating to read how geology helps Raleigh uncover clues she never would have discovered with out it.

    I liked how Sibella had Raleigh sty true to her calling in life no matter how the male FBI Agents treated her. I also liked Raleigh's honesty in her feelings and how she struggled in putting God into the driver seat of her life 24/7.

    Giorello takes her readers on a beautiful Alaskan cruise along with her mom and eccentric Aunt who has arranged for Raleigh to be a consultant on a movie being filmed on the cruise ship. She thought this would be a great way to enjoy each other's company, have fun and get their trip paid for.

    Things were beautiful and fun until Raleigh discovers a female body hanging from the back of the cruise ship. Head of security seeks Raleigh's help in this case because she's FBI and the woman found dead was famous actor Milo's wife.

    Milo was the one she was consulting on the film on how to be an FBI agent. Milo and everyone else on this project was hoping for a box office smash hit with this movie. Milo needed this to get back into the game.

    Sibella Giorello pens an intriguing web of mystery, suspense, fun and quirky characters I enjoyed with well timed humor. This was a "who-done-it" that kept me guessing right up till the end. This was the first novel I've read by this author, it won't be my last. I think I'll start with The River Runs Dry, or The Clouds Roll! So many choices! Can't wait to see where this author takes me next!! I highly recommend this book and for you to check out the others!

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  • Posted March 25, 2011

    A Suspenseful Addition!

    This is a FANTASTIC addition to the Raleigh Harmon novels. Sibella Giorello's talent shines through her works of fiction as she creates yet another suspenseful mystery for her readers. Her work is masterful, as she adds bits and pieces of humor to keep the reader hooked, lots of tense moments to keep the reader on the edge of their seats and guessing what's next.

    Newly engaged FBI Agent Raleigh Harmon needs to get away to make sure things will be all right, and she's making the right choice. But, once she boards the boat, she's not quite as "away" as she thinks....a MOB turns up and it's a suicide attempt....of is it? From page one, Sibella Giorello pulls the reader in when the suspense begins. You're following Raleigh on her cruise, you're helping her rely on God to work the case out and her life questions, and you're helping with the clues-what ones that Raleigh can find! From the first page to the last page, Raleigh's work and FBI talents shine through.

    If you love mysteries, then you'll LOVE the Raleigh Harmon novels. This one is worthy of 5 stars and doesn't let the reader down. While each can easily be read as a stand alone, it's best to read them in order. Sibella Giorello and her complex character, Raleigh Harmon, are here to stay and I'm anxious for the fourth addition, The Stars Shine On- due March 2012!

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  • Posted March 24, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Smart Writing, Enjoyable Suspense

    I sort of put off reading this book. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's just my natural tendency towards procrastination, but I think it was more than that. I'm always a little nervous when picking up title from an author whose work is new to me, as this was. I'm kind of a sucker for female FBI agents in suspense, but I've seen it done enchantingly and well... not so well. I was holding my breath, and tensed a bit as I started this book, not sure which category it would fall into, and literally felt my body relax with relief as I read the first few pages and realized almost instantly this was a book I was going to enjoy reading.

    The Writing
    Much of my instant connection with the book, had nothing to do with the plot. It was the writing. Sibella Giorello is quite simply a fabulous writer. She is the kind of writer who loves words. She writes tight and smart and imbues her narrative character with the kind of voice that I could have mistaken for my own. There is zero clunkiness to this novel. Nothing to trip you up or take you out of the story, it simply flows. And her writing is original. The book is peppered with authentic descriptions and dialogue that give color to a picture so flawless you feel a part of the action. She never resorts to tired cliche's or sloppy portraiture and I loved her for that. It's not that her style is poetic, as much as disarmingly fresh.

    She also won bonus point in my geeky book for including words that I actually had to look up. Yes in a suspense novel. Unapologetically, one of the surest ways to my nerdy little heart is to surprise me by letting me learn something! And Giorello did not disappoint on many fronts here. She not only taught me a few words, she taught me about the beauty of Alaska and the working class underbelly of the cruise industry, and she somehow even managed to hold me fascinated by mini lessons in geology.

    I was not at all surprised to finish the book and realize that her writing has been nominated for two Pulitzers.

    The Concept
    FBI Agent Raleigh Harmon from Giorello's earlier novels steps back up for a suspense thriller set aboard an Alaskan cruise. I'm wouldn't call the murder on the high seas concept entirely unique, but it was a story I hadn't read before. In fact, it was one of the things that made me fall in love with the story. I suppose wanted to experience the world of a luxury cruiseliner for a while, and in this the The Mountains Bow Down is a breathtaking getaway, even if the trip turns out to be anything but a vacation for our heroine.

    The Plot
    When the wife of a famous Hollywood action-star filming his latest sequel on the cruise turns up dead, Raleigh's vacation dissolves into a race to find the killer and recover evidence before the cruise ends and all her suspects walk off free. She is reunited with Jack Stephanson, another agent who she thought she couldn't stand. The plot threw quite a few twisty surprises at me. Everything that could possibly go wrong for poor Raleigh including many things I couldn't have anticipated going wrong, did. Again, this was a tight mystery plot that surprised me in its ability to keep one step ahead of me in my quest for whodunnit.

    Review Copy courtesy of Litfuse Publicity. Partial text of review which originally appeared on Aurelia {Lit}

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  • Posted March 16, 2011


    This is the third book in a series by Sibella Giorello. I thoroughly enjoyed this one, even though I have not read the first two.
    Raleigh Harmon sets out on a cruise with her mother, aunt and one of her aunt's "psychic" friends. She hopes to get in some much needing rest and recuperation from her tiring job as a FBI special agent, and spend some quality time with family. But a strange case arises while Raleigh is on the ship and Raleigh is drawn in, not completely against her will. With so many twists to the story and new clues being discovered, Raleigh sets aside her plans for chilling by the pool and gets caught up in the exciting world of crime solving.
    To add some conflict, Raleigh's enemy, Jack Stephanson, a fellow special agent she worked with, is assigned to board the cruise ship to help her. Even though she has a fiance waiting for her when she gets back, Raleigh finds herself wondering why Jack seems to know her better than herself when her fiance can't seem to understand her.
    Raleigh is also a geologist and the geology explained in the book will be fascinating to rock lovers and easy to understand for those just reading the book for fun.

    I loved the mixture of suspense, romance, and emotion the author blended in the book. A good story always needs conflict. The author made sure of that by bringing in an enemy, also by some head-butting all throughout the story.

    I would recommend this story to the older crowd, but references to drugs, alcohol, pornography, and other things may make it inappropriate for the younger generation.

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  • Posted March 16, 2011

    Best Raleigh Harmon yet!

    I have read all of the Raleigh Harmon novels and in my opinion they just get better and better. This fourth one in the series was so good I didn't want it to end, but although it is the longest book so far, I knew that Raleigh had to eventually solve the case and get off that cruise ship.
    Raleigh and her mother are along for the ride on a cruise with her Aunt Charlotte and Charlotte's crazy psychic friend, who just happens to grate on Raleigh's last nerve every time she's in the room. Raleigh has taken a job as a consultant for a Hollywood movie, and plans to do some rock hunting and hiking on her "sort of vacation." But as you'd expect, someone ends up dying and Raleigh is pulled into solving the murder before the cruise ends and all the suspects get away.
    Raleigh is newly engaged, but still unsure of her feelings for the southern gentleman back home, even ignoring his calls and using work as a buffer against dealing with the truth. Her mother is mentally fragile and with all that is going on, Raleigh is not able to keep an eye on her like she normally would, shielding her with lies and evasion to the point that she doesn't like herself very much.
    Jack, an FBI agent from her past, flies in to help her with the case, further confusing her feelings about marriage to her fiancé, DeMott.
    The Mountains Bow Down is a murder mystery on a cruise ship with self-obsessed Hollywood characters, laugh-out-loud humor, and beautiful descriptions of Alaska and the ocean that will make you want to take your own cruise there, but it also has an emotional depth that sneaks up and pulls at you like a riptide. The character development is awesome to behold, facets of Raleigh's character revealed in the smallest of nuance. Whether tender scenes with her mother, or repartee with Jack-the agent she wants to dislike, we learn a little more about Raleigh and what makes her tick.
    (Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.)

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  • Posted March 15, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Beauty, Suspense, and Murder!

    A cruise to Alaska promises plenty of time to delight in nature's beauty. The majestic mountains and geological opportunities beg to be enjoyed. Or so FBI Agent Raleigh Harmon thinks. Raleigh's plans to mine for gems and relax on her vacation go horribly askew when a passenger is murdered aboard the cruise ship. The ship's security chief enlists Raleigh to assist in the investigation. To complicate matters, Raleigh's mother's health quickly digresses, her aunt's friend's behavior annoys everyone, and Special Agent Jack Stephanson joins the investigation. With only five days to solve the murder, Raleigh struggles with the challenges before her. Will she solve the murder? Will her mother recover? And Stephanson is not quite as bad as she remembered...

    The Mountains Bow Down by Sibella Giorello is the fourth book in her Raleigh Harmon series. I did not have the advantage reading the previous books. However, enough information was given that I had sufficient background information on Raleigh and the supporting characters. I suspect there would have been more information about her fiance in the previous books. The book ended with several loose ends. Raleigh's mother's health and Raleigh's relationships with her fiance and Jack Stephanson will likely be addressed in the next book.

    I enjoyed reading The Mountains Bow Down. Kudos to Giorello for creating a plot that was catchy and unpredictable. Raleigh's character is especially well-written. I appreciated that Giorello's treatment of Raleigh's mother's illness was sadly authentic, but also sympathetic. The only character I disliked was the very New Age Claire. It is reasonable that the author meant for this to happen as Claire is deeply integrated into the story. I just found her annoying.

    I recommend this book to those who enjoy mystery and suspense fiction.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from BookSneeze. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  • Posted March 10, 2011

    Makes me want to read the entire series!

    I was very happy to see FBI Special Agent Raleigh Harmon again as she left quite an impression on me in the previous novel. Set in Alaska this novel picks up right from the beginning with the plot as Raleigh's thrust right into a murder mystery. The pace of the novel is fairly quick with plenty of twists and turns along with a little humor and romance. The descriptive scenery of Alaska is amazing. After reading I'm even more intrigued to go back to Book One to see how this series began.

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  • Posted March 3, 2011

    Best yet in the series

    Raleigh Harmon, a forensic geologist turned FBI special agent, is on an Alaskan cruise vacation when murder on board forces her to put her vacation on hold in The Mountains Bow Down. While investigating the death of a movie star's wife, Raleigh tries to keep her mother's fragile sanity from breaking. She is helped in her case by rugged and handsome Special Agent Jack Stephanson. His presence only adds to her confusion about her engagement to her high school sweetheart back home in Richmond, VA. With all these thoughts competing for first place in her mind, can Raleigh concentrate enough on the case to find the killer in time? Will Raleigh patch things up with her fiance or choose to pursue her interested FBI partner? Will her mother ever be able to forgive her for the lies she has told?

    This is the fourth book in the Raleigh Harmon series by Sibella Giorello. While I have enjoyed the other books in the series, I find the action in them to be a little slow for my taste. The Mountains Bow Down is definitely the best one yet in the series. Giorello is true to her writing form and doesn't add in unnecessary action scenes, yet the investigation storyline seems to move faster in this book, then in previous ones. It kept my attention and made me want to keep reading until I found out who did it.

    Giorello spends a lot of time developing Raleigh's character throughout these books so by the fourth, you feel like you really know this character. You see her anguish as she deals with her mother's mental illness and how she copes by throwing herself into this murder investigation. You almost feel with her as she struggles to choose between her overbearing fiance back home and the arrogant but caring (and obviously interested) man right in front of her. These issues that she faces seem real, not a storyline made up by an author. When you are done reading, all you want to do it give Raleigh a big hug and let her cry on your shoulder for all the burdens that she is bearing.

    The one thing I didn't like about the book is that it almost entirely negates the relationships Giorello spent the last several books developing. You leave the third book sure that Raleigh has finally found true love, only to have that thought entirely turned around by the end of the first chapter of this book. It seemed a little to convenient for me. But since that is the only bad thing I have to say about this novel, I would still highly recommend reading it, especially if you have read the previous Raleigh Harmon novels.

    I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

    The book ends with a definite nod to a sequel. And in light of that, I look forward to reading book number five.

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  • Posted March 1, 2011

    Cruise into murder with Sibella Giorello

    Special Agent Raleigh Harmon planned a working vacation to Alaska as a movie consultant. Instead she finds herself wrapped up in a murder investigation. The various personalities of the ship's crew and movie people make for an intriguing gumbo of humanity. Seasoning the mix are Raleigh's mother, who is showing early signs of dementia, her aunt who matches people and crystals, and the aunt's abrasive New Age friend. Raleigh has left a fiance back home,and is wondering if accepting his proposal was the right decision.

    Giorello creates an intricate story of murder and deceit, set against the beautiful backdrop of Alaska. She has an eye for the scenery and a gift for describing human nature. The book is an easy read and I enjoyed the interaction between the characters. Even the minor players get a three-dimensional treatment.

    If you have an interest in mysteries, geology, law enforcement, Alaska or movie-making, you'll probably enjoy this book.

    I reviewed the book from a galley provided by the publisher. I was not obligated to provide a positive review.

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  • Posted February 28, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Mystery, Action, Some Comedic Relief and Romantic Tension Create a Good Read!

    "With the trajectory of launched missiles, the mountains soared from the ocean. Smothered with evergreens, the steeps pointed to a sky so blue it whispered of eternity." It's not often that the first two sentences in a book draw me in the way that Sibella Giorello was able to in The Mountains Bow Down. The imagery immediately draws you in, feeling as though you are on the Alaskan Cruise with FBI Special Agent Raleigh Harmon.

    As an FBI Agent, Raleigh is, of course, drawn into the investigation when a high profile murder takes place on her cruise. She requests assistance from the FBI. Enter Special Agent Jack Stephanson. As the two work to solve the case, Raleigh also must provide consultation on a movie that is being filmed onboard, her family, and her changing attitude towards Jack. Before beginning I was nervous about reading a book that is not the first in a series. However, I didn't feel like I was missing anything crucial to the story that wasn't addressed in this book. I really enjoyed the story and thought it had a good mix of suspense, action, comedic relief, with a little romantic tension thrown in for good measure.

    The Mountains Bow Down by Sibella Giorello is one that I would recommend to someone looking for an interesting book that pays as much attention to characters as it does to the storyline.

    I was graciously provided with a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes by the publisher.

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  • Posted February 28, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The Mountains Bow Down

    An Alaskan cruise vacation puts Raleigh Harmon in the middle of a murder. As an FBI agent, her skills and observations tell her that this is not a suicide, as others think, and she embarks on an investigation to prove it. What is standing in her way? Time - she has five days; Geert - a Dutch policeman who works for the cruise line; Milo Carpenter - actor and husband of the dead woman; consulting on an actual movie; and Jack Stephanson - FBI agent assigned to help her, and someone with whom she has a history; just to name a few. She is also recently engaged, but is having trouble thinking about DeMott. Is she truly in love with him? Will Raleigh trust anyone to help with the investigation? Will the killer be caught or go free?

    This book is the first of a series by Sibella Giorello that I have read, and I plan on reading more. Her writing style is inviting with a story and characters that keep you following along. I loved the pictures she painted in my mind of Alaska, the cruise ship, and the characters. This book is a wonderful choice for lovers of murder mysteries that have a splash of romance. Reading groups can also have fun discussing this one. Thank you to the Book Sneeze Program for the opportunity to read and review this book.

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