Hilltop Sunset: A Brynn Bancroft Mystery

Hilltop Sunset: A Brynn Bancroft Mystery

by Joyce Strand

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Overview

Hilltop Sunset: A Brynn Bancroft Mystery by Joyce Strand

A mystery set in wine country pitting financial exec Brynn Bancroft against a determined stalker, a troubled love interest, and career clashes.

Brynn Bancroft learns that a former employee who beat her nearly to death has returned to stalk her and her friend, Jillian Hillcrest, also a former victim. Recently divorced, Brynn turns to a new love interest only to encounter additional unwelcome issues. Meanwhile, short-timer Brynn, who has resigned from her Silicon Valley company, becomes bored fulfilling her remaining responsibilities there. She begins to prefer supporting the launch of her ex-husband's new hilltop winery while waiting to move to her next position. Between her stalker and her new love interest, Brynn faces a series of life-threatening events.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940150527935
Publisher: McCloughan and Schmeltz Publisher
Publication date: 11/06/2014
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 300
Sales rank: 979,645
File size: 353 KB

About the Author

Joyce T. Strand is the author of who-done-it mysteries set in the San Francisco Silicon Valley and Napa-Sonoma wine regions of California.

Her most recent novel, HILLTOP SUNSET, is the first of a new series featuring protagonist Brynn Bancroft, a financial guru in transition to winemaker from corporate executive. Brynn Bancroft is a minor character in Strand’s novels ON MESSAGE, OPEN MEETINGS, and FAIR DISCLOSURE—three mysteries solved by Jillian Hillcrest, a publicist whose boss was Chief Financial Officer Brynn Bancroft.

Much like her protagonist Jillian Hillcrest, Strand headed corporate communications at several biotech and high-tech companies in California’s Silicon Valley for more than 25 years. Unlike Jillian, however, she did not encounter murder in her career. She focused on writing by-lined articles, press releases, white papers, and brochures to publicize her companies and their products.

Strand lives with her two cats and collection of cow statuary in Southern California, and seeks out and attends as many Broadway musicals and other stage plays as possible.

She received her Ph.D. from the George Washington University, Washington, D.C. and her B.A. from Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA

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Hilltop Sunset: A Brynn Bancroft Mystery 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
CinnamonHollow More than 1 year ago
This book was good. It wasn't my favorite but it was good. Overall I did like the story the mystery and some of the characters. Brynn is growing on me. I feel like I do need to go back and read Hilltop Sunset to get a better feel of her story. I don't like earlier Brynn but she changes throughout the book and a better side of her is comes out. I like that we see a maternal side of her as well as her realization of her past mistakes in her marriage. The mystery was pretty good but I felt like there was too much explaining of everything, like Brynn telling Madison about her affair, business terms and dealings, etc. For me, some of the dialogue felt forced and it just didn't flow well. I realize that Brynn and Madison haven't connected in decades and Brynn isn't great with people but the actual dialogue just seemed a little like back-story that you'd see in the margins of a script. Would I recommend this book? I would. The story was good and this would make for a good weekend or travel book. I'm excited to read more of the Brynn Bancroft Mystery and see how her character grows. I received this book through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, I have volunteered to share my review and all the opinions are 100% my own.
Algene More than 1 year ago
“Hilltop Sunset” has everything you would probably want in a novel. It’s perfectly written and well-researched. The plot is based on actual events which makes it easier for readers to relate with each chapter. This book will surely make you want to cancel all your appointments for the day just to finish it. The novel is full of love, suspense and mystery. What more could you ask for? Thank you Joyce Strand for bringing us an interesting book!
Momsicals More than 1 year ago
If you like a fairly simple and straightforward mystery, this is a pretty good choice. Instead of the mystery being the entire focus of the book, the characters and their development gets just as much, if not more, attention than the mystery. I really liked most of the characters, although I found Brynn rather annoying in the beginning, mostly due to her obsession with sex. The mystery is fairly predictable, but not enough to make the story boring. I actually enjoyed the character development more than the mystery, especially since some of the characters develop in ways you don't expect. My biggest complaint is that the writing style can be dry and stilted. In some places it is over simplistic, while other sections are a bit too complicated. I was able to get used to the writing style by the end of the book, but it did take awhile. I received a copy in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are my own.
MargsWorld More than 1 year ago
Margs Thoughts:   Byrnn is not a likable person in the beginning of the story.  She was raised by an abusive father so using she uses sex as a distraction.  Shes cheating.  Her hubby's cheating.  Interesting marriage. But she changes and grows during the story and everyone likes a redemption story.  The story was a little slow moving at the beginning and I kinda drifted but Im glad that I stuck around. It really got better.    You would like mysteries, you will like this story.  Enjoy!
bubbymama09 More than 1 year ago
I have to start out by saying, that when it comes to books, romance is not my preferred genre. So when I started reading this, I was a little taken aback by the added romance, but there was a quality to it that made it different from the typical romantic nostalgia. Then I noticed the amount of chapters & realized that they were small enough that I should easily be able to squeeze in a chapter here & there. That all went out the window one night when I read the remaining half of the book because I just couldn't put it down! I don't want to give much away about the plot, but I thoroughly enjoyed witnessing the characters grow. Brynn discovered emotions that she never knew she was capable of, Todd was actually the polar opposite of what he appeared to be, Mattie came out of her depression & Isabel was more psychotic than anyone could have imagined. But of course what I really want to know now, is if Brynn & Liam get back together and live happily every after with Josh. I know that really does sound like a typical romance story, but I assure you that this book is filled with lies, deceit, drama & plenty of murder.
beckvalleybooks More than 1 year ago
A very enthralling and deep story based on actual events, one persons fear of being stalked by someone who had tried to kill them and her friends.  This book will really make you think about how much you protect your family and friends from a danger that you cannot see or distinguish.  Imagine feeling on edge and nervous not knowing when an attack could happen at any time. The authors writing will have you feeling all of the emotions as you feel that you are in the thick of the plot.  Just when our heroine thinks she has found a new love and the prospect of rebuilding her life she faces problems that she couldn't envisage,  Surrounded by friends who share her past experiences and the FBI trying to trace her stalker the story builds to an exciting climax.   An exciting, page turning read about how one persons actions can have a massive and disturbing effect on a persons life and mind set.  Excellently written, a very emotive story showing the good in everyone's nature even when they are faced with danger to their own lives.     This definitely keeps the reader enrapt from page 1.
LynchburgMama More than 1 year ago
This has book had me hooked from the very first page until the very last word! It has everything I love to read:  mystery, suspense, love, humor - EVERYTHING!! I didn't have a chance to read the Jillian Hillcrest novel but it was easy to jump right in with the story line and pick up with the placement.  It was easy to find myself in Brynn's shoes. Her life is completely chaotic and she is trying to simply live it and move on despite having a crazy stalker after her! I felt like for the most part, the characters and situations were realistic. However, when Brynn takes to her fly-by-night boyfriend's son so fast, I was a bit confused as to why but then it hit me. Here is a woman who reconnects in new ways with not only her ex-husband but herself and she has yet to have children. She has the chance to make a difference in this young man's life and I love that she goes from being somewhat of a selfish woman to a woman with big, open arms.  I can't wait to get my hands on more of Ms. Strand's books - they are fantastic!
TheBookStalker More than 1 year ago
Complex, cryptic and gripping are the characters and storyline in this based on a true life events novel about love and trust. Strand does well at ensuring you are engaged and absorbed in the book from the very beginning. Although there were parts that I found unrealistic and improbable, overall this made for a page turner with the extraordinary character personalities and plot that leaves you guessing until the end. All characters including Brynn and Liam are relatable and fill the roles perfectly as girl can’t get over guy and hopes for their happily ever after consistently. I enjoyed how Brynn started out as a minor favorite and gained momentum quickly becoming a person that I felt loyal to and wanted to get to know on a personal level. Strand has written a novel that will surely delight and entertain.
hpgirl2008 More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book - it had pretty much everything ... love, mystery, suspense, and truth. Brynn and her ex-husband Liam are friendly after their divorce even though both of them had affairs. But now Liam is seeing someone new and Brynn feels a loss. That is until Todd comes into her life. Set in a beautiful winery where Liam and Brynn work, Todd is a speaker and Brynn takes a shine to him as soon as they meet. It soon becomes clear though that Todd is hiding something, and when Brynn meets his ex-wife Angela who says she is pregnant with his child and needs more money for their teenage son Josh, Brynn doesn't know what to think. And it gets even more suspenseful when Angela is found dead in a car crash. All of this brings back memories for Brynn as she was stalked and harmed not so long ago - she is very skittish and doesn't trust easily. I was amazed at how she trusted Todd without a second thought. Brynn becomes very involved with Todd's son Josh who leaves his mother to come stay with them. It soon becomes very clear that Todd IS in fact hiding something - but what? Josh seems to have a sense but all doesn't become clear until the end. The characters in this book are very complex and it is written mostly from Brynn's perspective but it also has a strong 3rd person POV where you see what the other characters are feeling as well. Brynn is a strong woman who is accomplished and doesn't bow down to Todd and his son when they expect it. I love Liam though, he is so sweet and by the end of the book I really came to adore him as a character. The book is bittersweet because even though Todd brings trouble to Brynn's doorstep, he also brings Josh who ultimately decides he wants to stay with Brynn and seems to see her as a mother figure. I love the setting of the winery, and I noticed throughout the book that the descriptions followed through with the feeling of autumn and is full of allusions to crisp leaves and apples and things that work very well with the winery setting :) I really loved it, I highly recommend this book it's a great read all the way to the end, and really keeps you guessing! I received a complimentary ebook to review :)
sleepygirl More than 1 year ago
This is the second book of Joyce T. Strand's that I've read. She writes a good mystery with a lot of suspense and a few twists.   It was difficult for me to engage with the main character, Brynn. At first I thought it was because both she and Liam had multiple affairs during their marriage and it didn't seem to bother her. I eventually realized, though, that it was because Brynn didn't feel any emotions as was pointed out by Liam. As time went on, she was finally starting to "feel" and as she did, it was easier to empathize with her.   I found the relationship between Brynn and her ex, Liam, interesting. It was obvious that they loved each other  but had had marital problems mainly because of Brynn's inability to express her emotions. Since she's getting better at that, maybe they'll get back together in a future book like her friend, Jillian and her ex, Chad.   Hilltop Sunset is a good novel and anyone who likes suspense will enjoy it. If you like series, I suggest reading the Jillian Hillcrest first, which Brynn appears in. 
Deal_Sharing_Aunt More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading  "Hilltop Sunset" by Joyce T. Strand and I did like the storyline. The book was full of suspense and action. The only problem I have is that the main character seemed a little more worried about having a sex life than the fact that there was a woman out there who just about killed her a short while ago.  The woman is very dangerous and she is back in the area because she has just learned the hard way when she shows up and almost kills again. There are many twists and turns that I did not expect. I give this book a 4/5. I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.
BeccaW More than 1 year ago
The other book that I have read by Joyce Strand was Fair Disclosure. The Hillcrest Mysteries are ones that I have found entertaining. They can pull you right in without even trying. The writing and the story lines of this author are ones that will have you not wanting to put the book down. I know that I have more on my to-be-read list by this author that I want to get to. It’s funny how your to-be-read list grows and grows. This is something that I need to tackle, but Joyce Strand’s books will be right up there on the top of the list with the Jillian Hillcrest Mysteries. Brynn is back and so are Jillian and Chad. Love will conquer all as Jillian and Chad want nothing more than to plan their wedding at a winery. Brynn has learned how to forgive and wants to move on and have a family of her own. I am not going to give away too much if you have never read about these characters. I want you to fall in love with them just as much as I did. Murder and all sorts of confusion starts to unfold throughout the story. Wine and murder. Combination to keep your interest for sure. Like I have said before, I am not one to give away spoilers and ruin all the fun for the readers that follow my reviews. Even though this one can be read as a standalone, I would totally recommend that you read others by Joyce too. I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.
HeatherJG More than 1 year ago
This book grabs you instantly and just makes you keep reading! It's hard to put it down. I love a good mystery (even more when there's a little romance mixed in) but the fact that it's set right here in BEAUTIFUL Northern California just adds to the intrigue! You can't help but feel for Brynn and all she's been through and as the story evolves you really care for her well being and what the eventual outcome will be. The character development in this book is done so well! I thoroughly enjoyed it and I would really like to read the other books in this series.
grtlyblesd More than 1 year ago
Different.  Hilltop Sunset was unlike the other books I've been reviewing lately.  Not a spicy romance, and certainly not a sweet Amish story, this book is more suspense than anything else.  I had a hard time relating to the main character in the beginning of the story.  Brynn has the morals of an alley cat, sleeping with her married boss, her ex husband, a guy she meets at a conference... pretty much anybody.  By the end of the story, however, Brynn shows considerable personal growth.  I think being thrust into a non-threatening parenting role with teenager, Josh, helps her begin to heal from her own lousy childhood.  Unfortunately, this book has a "book two" vibe to it, leaving the reader wondering, "Who is this Isabel chick, and why did she attack Jillian and Brynn?" questions we can only assume were answered in author Joyce T. Strand's prior series, mentioned below.  Still, I found myself caught up enough in the storyline to wonder when the next book comes out.  I'd like to follow what happens with Brynn, Liam, and Josh.  Not to mention, there's a bit of a cliff-hanger we're left guessing about at the end.   
Savingsinseconds More than 1 year ago
If you're a wine connoisseur, this book might just appeal to you. Set in the vineyards of California, we get to explore the lifestyle of the thirty-somethings who have made lots of money from the upper crust. When I started reading this book, I felt as though I had walked into the wrong movie theater after going to the concession stand. There was a lot of background information that I must have missed. Although it all becomes clear in time, the stall prevented me from really getting hooked on the book. Before you read Hilltop Sunset, I'd highly suggest reading the first book so that you know what's going on. The main character, Brynn, just went through an amicable divorce. In fact, it was so amicable that she went on a little overnight trip with her ex to celebrate. It was all very surreal. When I finally connected with the characters, I really became interested in the mystery behind Hilltop Sunset. I kept wondering about the "Inspired by Actual Events" on the front of the book. What was real and what was fiction? It's difficult to say because the book was so realistic! I received this book to review. Opinions shared here are 100% mine.
A_Gluten_Free_Mom More than 1 year ago
Get out the tissues! This is a tearjerker and mystery rolled into one. Just when I think I've got it all figured out, Wham Bam, I'm wrong and spinning in a million directions.  This novel is part of a series. I haven’t read the first in the series, so was a bit lost at the beginning. There are some parts that I didn’t quite get until about ½ through the novel. They didn’t impact my enjoyment of Hilltop Sunset, but have made me want to go back and read the first part of the story.  Grab a copy and get ready to delve in. You’ll  read way late into the night, but it is worth every minute of tiredness the next day!
BookWormAndMore More than 1 year ago
This is the second book by Joyce T. Strand that I've been able to read and review. I am hooked. I love a good mystery especially one with a little bit of romance. I loved Hilltop Sunset. I wish I would've read the first books in the series to understand a little more of what happened in the beginning. Don't get me wrong these books can be read as stand alone books but it is always nice to have a little more of the back story. You will just have a better understanding of what is going on or why something happened. Ms. Strand does a great job of grabbing your attention right from the beginning. You will be pulled into the middle of the action. At points, you will be screaming at the characters to watch out (even if it is only yelling at them in your mind). If you are like me, you will have a hard time putting the book down once you have started. I kept telling myself that I would just read one more page or that I would just finish the chapter and then I would say just one more. The only problem with books like this one is that I don't seem to get much work done when I'm reading them. I did find one part of the book a little unrealistic or really kind of happened too fast. There is a point in the book when Brynn takes on some of the responsibilities of her troubled boyfriend. I don't really want to say too much about it because I don't want to give away part of the book. I just don't see where most people would take care of this responsibility so shortly after meeting someone. I know kind of vague but you will understand when you read the book. I give this one 4 1/2 stars. It is a fast paced book full of intrigue. This book is for mature audiences due to some adult situations. I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.
mysterybook_nerd98 More than 1 year ago
While Brynn bothered me at first- I thought she could have benefited with some Cognitive Behavioral Therapy- she grew on me and despite her issues I found her to be a resourceful, intelligent protagonist. I also liked how she grew during the novel. The book was a thrilling read and kept me on the edge of my seat at times. I look forward to more of Brynn's adventures. Book Source: Author in exchange for an honest review.
EbethTowns More than 1 year ago
I opened Hilltop Sunset by Joyce Strand and entered right back into the mystery centering around Brynn  Bancroft and to some extent Jillian Hillcrest, and who wanted to murder them. I know who it is, but I’m not going to give THAT away. The Brynn Bancroft mysteries are the kind of books that pull you right into the story and make you want to finish them in one reading. You absolutely have to go on to the next chapter, and you are 20 pages in before you realize how much time has flown by! That’s just how good the story is – and the writing is great. That is a combination that cannot be passed up. The familiar parties are back in this next book of the series, and some new faces have come to challenge Brynn’s capacity to love and forgive, and even expand her family. Jillian and Chad are still planning a beautiful wedding at the winery, and are not the central characters in this episode, but are still involved. Brynn is not prepared for the way the friendship between she and her ex-husband Liam evolves, nor the development of feelings she hasn't experienced since….well, ever. While all of this is unfolding, murder and mayhem is happening between the winery and the city. Are you looking for the next best read? This is it – and it does stand alone from the previous book~but reading both of them would be a great escape! I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are 100% my own.
lifeasleels More than 1 year ago
Hilltop Sunset is a lead off of Fair Disclosure – A Jillian Hillcrest Mystery Series. Because I had read Fair Disclosure, I knew what Brynn and Jillian’s past was (after some reminders); but I do not think you need to read the previous one to enjoy this one. Hilltop Sunset was mystery and romance linked together and I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It is semi-predictable, but thank goodness not completely because what I thought would turn out to be devastating didn’t actually happen. This is a book that definitely keeps you on your toes, but is also lights and makes you feel like you belong with this circle of friends. I really enjoyed this book and will continue to read from this author – she does a great job with her mysteries!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I first opened Hilltop Sunset the first thing I noticed was the number of chapters and I remember thinking – this had better be good. I’m glad to say that I wasn’t disappointed. Brynn is recently divorced. Whilst celebrating her new status she learns that her attacker is back in town and posing a new threat. This doesn’t stop her living her life and embarking on a new and exciting relationship with Todd, who specialises in helping the companies tighten their anti-fraud procedures. The situation gets interesting when Brynn finds realises she is being stalked and is even more surprised when she discovers the person’s identity. As new characters are introduced the pace picks up climaxing with a murder and events which force Brynn to re-consider her life decisions. I thoroughly enjoyed the way the plot was developed and kept me guessing just when I thought I’d figured it all out. I thought Brynn had a great sixth sense and it’s a shame she didn’t pay much attention to it. There’s probably a lesson in there for every reader! What a refreshing and engaging style of writing which adds pace and excitement to the mystery.
TeresaKander More than 1 year ago
The first several chapters spend a lot of time in Brynn's head rather than actually furthering the story.  Although it is billed as a mystery, I found it to be more of a romance novel with a little mystery/suspense thrown in. There's nothing wrong with that, but it just wasn't at all what I was expecting. Once the mystery part of the story really kicked in, however, it was amazing, and I couldn't read it fast enough. There were several "shady" characters, which made it impossible to tell exactly where the plot was going to go, which is something I LOVE in a mystery! It was also fascinating to watch Brynn grow as a person as the book progressed. She began to realize what a family is really supposed to be like, and to allow herself to feel emotions she had kept a tight rein on for most of her life. I am looking forward to the next installment in this series already! I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.
wifetoalineman02 More than 1 year ago
This book is hard to put down. I am a new fan of ms. Joyce T. Strand. Brynn's life is full of ups and down. She has a rough ride but it was worth up to the finish line. I  love the scenery of this book. I wish I can drink wine. I also love sunset. This book is suspense and will leave you breathless. It is also a book that will help you trust and loved again. I cannot wait for the 2nd book. I want to know if Brynn and Liam are back into each other's arms again. Love is beautiful after the second chance.
MikiHope More than 1 year ago
This is the second book I have read by this author-the first being Fair Disclosure Click on the link and see what I had to say--yes, I liked it! This is another great mystery which I had trouble putting down once I started reading it. There are 2 more books in this series I have not yet read-but had no trouble at all reading this as a stand alone. Brynn Bancroft and one of her co-workers had been brutally attacked by a former employee where they work. They have just been informed that the woman has been seen back in the area. Brynn, who is getting ready to leave her job for another one is also trying to help her ex husband start his winery. This was an amicable divorce and they have remained very good friends. When the stalker manages to get into Brynn's home things to heat up. How does this woman know Brynn's whereabouts? Will Brynn be able to put her past behind her and learn what emotions are. Will she end up in Alabama or will she opt for working at the winery? You know I'm going to leave you hanging and yes I really really think you should read this book-the entire series actually. I do have two more I have to get my hands on!!
JulieGB More than 1 year ago
While recuperating from a brutal attack from coworker Isabel, Brynn receives word that she has been spotted back in California. Brynn is in the process of leaving the company and starting a new job in Alabama. Around the same time, her ex-husband Liam has bought a winery that Brynn agreed to manage until she moves. And on top of all this, Brynn starts a relationship with Todd, an acquaintance she met at a conference. When Isabel attacks Brynn, Liam, and Todd at the winery, the police and FBI step up their security for opening day. But what they find out on opening day will shock them all. The action starts at the beginning and continues to the end. There is so much going on.. It’s a whirlwind in the few weeks that the book covers, and I love that. It was fun watching Brynn grow throughout the story. But I felt cheated the way the story abruptly ended. Of course I appreciate the author’s note after the end but that didn’t satisfy my need to have some type of closure, before continuing into another book.