Molten Mud Murder

Molten Mud Murder

by Sara E. Johnson

Paperback(Large Print)

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Is the past better left undisturbed, or unearthed?

When a body is found half-submerged in a molten mud pot in one of Rotorua's famous geothermal wonderlands, forensics expert Alexa Glock spots a way to prolong her stay in New Zealand, which she has been visiting for work. Teeth are her expertise, and the investigation needs her help, as other ways of identifying the body may have... melted away.

Joining Detective Inspector Bruce Horne and his team, Alexa discovers that the murder victim, a city councilman, had trespassed on an island sacred to the Maori. The ancient punishment for such a transgression is disaster, demonic possession, or death... and when she visits the island to investigate, the same outcome is promised for her. Alexa doesn't believe in ancient spirits returning to exact revenge, and when another victim turns up dead she begins to wonder whether the real threat is something—or someone—much closer to home.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781464211225
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication date: 09/03/2019
Series: Alexa Glock Mysteries Series , #1
Edition description: Large Print
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Sara E. Johnson lives in Durham, North Carolina. She worked as a middle school reading specialist and local newspaper contributor before her husband lured her to New Zealand for a year. Her first novel, Molten Mud Murder, is the result.

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Molten Mud Murder 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Tangen 13 days ago
procedural, law-enforcement, New Zealand, cultural-exploration, culture-shock, forensics, romantic, murder-investigation, Maori ***** As an exploratory into Maori customs and the lack of respect from non-Maori locals and tourists I found it to be quite well done. As an introduction to forensic sciences I felt it was also quite well done. As a cosy mystery I really enjoyed it! Lots of misdirection, plot twists, and red herrings along with some really great imagery of a land I will never be able to visit. Personally, I could have done with less romantic obsessing by forensic odontologist Alexa over Senior Constable Horne but I suppose it sells. Nevertheless, I highly recommend it! I requested and received a free ebook copy from Poisoned Pen Press via NetGalley. Thank you!
Anonymous 17 days ago
Molten Mud Murder is published by the excellent Poisoned Pen Press, a small press that is dedicated to mystery fiction. This is author Johnson's first novel and the first in a projected series. American protagonist, Alexa, is a forensics examiner whose specialty is teeth. She has come to New Zealand on a fellowship, falls in love with the country and wants to stay longer. She manages to insert herself into the murder case involving a city counselor. What I struggled with a little: Alexa took many risks that felt plot driven. Some mysteries, such as what happened to her friend, Mary, were not fully solved. Perhaps that is for another book. What I liked: The setting on the North Island of New Zealand and the ways in which the landscape is brought vividly to life. The information about tribal Maori customs and rituals. That there was a back story for Alexa. The hint of romance between her and Bruce, the Senior, a term for the chief detective. The details on forensic examination. This mystery should appeal to armchair travelers, lovers of New Zealand and those who enjoy action packed mysteries. Many thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for this proof in return for an honest review. I look forward to the author's next book.
ArizonaJo 18 days ago
Molten Mud Murder by Sare E. Johnson is the first book in a new mystery series that proved to be entertaining. Alexa Glock is from the United States and has been in New Zealand working at university but her class is now finished and she's at loose ends. She's fiercely independent but facing a crossroads in her personal life which often entered her thoughts throughout the book. The mystery is smoothly paced and there were few suspects to consider. Ms. Johnson's descriptive writing of New Zealand, the Maori culture and wildlife made this book a fascinating read for me. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book from Poisoned Pen Press via NetGalley. All of the above opinions are my own.
Anonymous 18 days ago
This book reacquainted me with one of my favourite places, Rotorua, New Zealand. The author vividly describes. Its geothermal activity, the geysers, bubbling, boiling mud pools, and nearly magical cave where glow worms light up the walls and ceilings. We are also introduced to Maori culture, traditions and artwork. About 36% of this small city is of Maori origin. Forensic expert, Alexis Glock, an American, has been teaching at a university in N.Z. Her contract has ended and she wants to stay in the country longer. Her specialty is in odontology, the study of teeth. She travels to Rotorua to attend the funeral for a friend. A man has been found dead in a boiling mud pit. Alexis feels the only way that the remains might be identified is from her forensic knowledge of teeth. She inserts herself into the police investigation. At first, they are reluctant to accept her offer of help, but when their expert needs to return to Auckland for a family emergency, she is hired to help identify the body. It turns out the man was a city councillor and was murdered. He angered the Maoris for disrespecting their customs. He trespassed on an island they consider sacred, so there is the belief that this was a ritualistic killing for ignoring their taboos. I found Alexis to be headstrong, pushy, insubordinate, with a tendency to go off on her own without any authority from the police department. She displayed a lot of risky behaviour. There seems to be a romance developing with her boss, Detective Inspector Bruce Horn. There is a mutual attraction, and I felt her constant daydreaming about him added little to the story. He was frequently annoyed that she interviewed suspects without official permission, and had to remind her that her role was in forensics and to stop playing detective. She wonders if her reckless behaviour is done to impress him. Following the identification of the man killed in the mud pit, another man is found drowned. He was a Maori who had an important role on the sacred island. Alexis, with some police officers, is sent to the island to search for clues. Along with her questioning people connected with the crime, Alexis finds her life in danger. Her assistant has already been attacked and seriously injured in the workplace. Police eventually come to believe that that attack and the two murders may be connected to smuggling valuable Maori antiquities and artifacts, but there are many suspects related to the killings and the attack. I wish to thank NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for this atmospheric crime story.
MKF 18 days ago
Alexa is a forensic odontologist- how cool is that?- at loose ends following the conclusion of a teaching stint at a university in New Zealand when she more or less inserts herself into the investigation of the murder of a local politician in a mud pot in Rotorua. Whew! This winds Maori history and culture into an intriguing mystery with good characters. Who wanted Paul Koppel dead, and why? Who wanted the (no spoilers) the next victim dead? Alexa is, to put it mildly, a dynamo. DI Bruce Horne, who is leading the investigation is also her love interest (well, she's thinking about him anyway). I learned a bit while reading this - always a plus. Thanks to the publisher for the ARC. A nice debut and hopefully the beginning of a new series.