Trial by Twelve

Trial by Twelve

by Heather Day Gilbert


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"This novel grabs the reader's attention from the start. The writing is crisp with a fresh and unique author voice." ~ Grace Awards Judges, 2015

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780997827958
Publisher: WoodHaven Press
Publication date: 07/21/2018
Series: A Murder in the Mountains , #2
Pages: 284
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

HEATHER DAY GILBERT, an ECPA Christy award finalist and Grace award winner, writes contemporary mysteries and Viking historicals. Her novels feature small towns, family relationships, and women who aren't afraid to protect those they love. Publisher's Weekly gave Heather's Viking historical Forest Child a starred review, saying it is "an engaging story depicting timeless human struggles with faith, love, loyalty, and leadership." Find out more at

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Trial by Twelve 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
LanguageTCH More than 1 year ago
Trial by Twelve, written by Heather Day Gilbert, is book two in A Murder in the Mountains Series. Lead character, Tess Spencer, is a natural investigative sleuth whose skills law enforcement personnel tend to rely upon. Although her attorney husband trusts her defensive skills, he still prefers that she does not take risks. This time, however, his admiration for the renowned Detective Tucker persuades him to allow her to help out behind the scenes in the investigation. Yet her involvement in cases never seems to remain on the down-low or risk-free. When human remains are discovered behind the exclusive spa where she works part-time, Tess finds herself immersed in the hunt for a bow-wielding serial killer. The supporting cast of characters—Tess’s husband and his warm, colorful family; her intriguing boss, owner of the elegant spa, and questionable employees of said spa; Charlotte, the daughter of her elderly friend in the nursing home—add depth and interest to the story. Letters written by the psychotic serial killer to his child are woven into the story, providing clues to the murders and adding to the suspense. I enjoyed Miranda Warning, book one of this series, but I could not put down Trial by Twelve. It is a fast-paced and wonderful suspense novel that I highly recommend. Heather Day Gilbert is a skilled writer that has become a favorite of mine. I received this book through TBCN in exchange for an honest review.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Brenda Casto for Readers' Favorite Trial By Twelve: A Murder in the Mountains Book 2 by Heather Day Gilbert takes readers back to Buckneck, WV, and this time it seems like there just might be a serial killer or killers on the loose! Taking a job at Crystal Mountain Spa should have been a very low key, stay out of danger kind of job for Tess Spencer. Unfortunately, when contractors start digging a new pool out back of the spa, they unearth more than anyone bargained for. When numerous bodies are uncovered, the local detective assigned to the case asks Tess to help, and she finds herself smack dab in the middle of a case where there could be more than one killer. As Tess gets closer to the truth, she also becomes the next target. Can she figure out who the killer is before she becomes the next victim? Heather Day Gilbert's Trial By Twelve provides more twists than the winding country roads that traverse the hills of Buckneck, WV! A mystery that left me guessing and totally wrong about who the killer was. A tightly woven story written in a way that allowed me to feel like I was seeing the events unfold through the eyes of the characters. I love the down to earth, homey feel of the characters and setting. It's very easy to become a part of the community and story. I love the character of Tess; she is a Glock carrying mom who is determined to look out for others, even at the expense of her own safety. She has a penchant for winding up in the middle of trouble, but that doesn't stop her. Even though Tess grapples with family issues from her past, her strong marriage and the bond she has with the Spencers really lends a sense of family to the story. While there were several clues as to who the killer might be, I found myself totally wrong about who it was right up until the end, which doesn't happen often. I loved the suspense filled mystery, but the balance of family and community woven into the story was also enjoyable to read. The breathless ending that the author provided wraps everything up neatly, but the final chapter leaves me anxious to read the next installment in A Murder in the Mountain Series.
annelr More than 1 year ago
New to me author Heather Day Gilbert has a winner with this her second in a series, Trial by Twelve. Even though there are references to prior adventures, the story line and themes of this book are well developed enough to keep the reader's attention and not leave unanswered questions of what may have happened with the characters previously. Trial by Twelve is easily a stand alone novel. Tess just wants to lead a normal life with her family and friends but danger and death just won't go away. From ritzy spas to assisted living facilities, from car trunks to mining caves, the bodies keep piling up. Several twists to the plot keeps the reader turning the pages and wondering who is this egocentric, deranged nutcase on the loose with a bow and arrow. Family get-togethers, friends departures, and funerals, as well as the sometimes frightful hunt for the killer, give Ms. Gilbert plenty of chances to bring authenticity to her characters, allowing us to see their foibles along with their strengths.  Anticipate the unexpected with this thriller because as we are reminded by the author "it is better to be tried by twelve than carried out by six." [Advanced Reader Copy provided by the author] 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really hhave enjoyed the two books I've read, but this one was a little unrealistic. Why would a professional detective need assistance from a young wife and mother to help find a serial killer? Also, what kind of husband would allow his wife to get involved in solving crimes, no matter how busy he was at his job?
Jocelyn_Green More than 1 year ago
Another page-turner from Heather Day Gilbert! Loved this book just as much as Miranda Warning, if not more. I loved spending more time with characters I'd already grown to love, and meeting new ones, too. The mystery is well-paced, with enough intrigue and drama to keep me guessing to the very end, sprinkled with humor that had me laughing out loud several times. I'm committed now--I'll read every Murder in the Mountains that this author writes!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it.
loriweller1 More than 1 year ago
Trial by Twelve is the second book in the Murder in the Mountains series. This can be read as a stand alone but is best enjoyed after reading book one. The story line continues with the same characters. There is mystery, family, love, murder, and a strong faith to make a strong book. I can not wait to read the next in the series. I received the book from the Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.
NanceeMarchinowski More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I've read by this author, but it won't be the last. A fast-paced and unpredictable mystery, I wasn't able to lay this book aside for any length of time. A Trial by Twelve was unlike what I expected, and I was pleasantly surprised. With a serial murderer on the loose Tess' life turns into a whirlwind of questions and dangerous situations. A number of people in the community are suspect as Tess works with Detective Tucker in unraveling numerous frightening and ambiguous clues. Murder victims continue to mystify the residents in this small mountainous community, and Tess endangers her life while attempting to uncover evidence that could lead to the murderer. Throughout the book, letters composed by a father to his child in foster care are revealed, adding to the suspense. It isn't clear who this person is and what role he plays in this mystery, but the fact that these letters show up throughout the story indicates that the originator of those letters could be a suspect. The letters gave me shivers as I read between the lines. Numerous characters throughout this book became suspect in my mind, and as Tess encountered these individuals my heart raced! Family is a very strong component throughout this well written story. I could relate to those wonderful, loving family ties. Each member watched out for the others, and the bonds between friends and family are commendable. Love is a strong force. Rather than give you more details, let this mystery unravel for yourself, and pick up a copy of Trial by Twelve. You won't be disappointed! Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review. All expressed opinions are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.
Mama_Cat More than 1 year ago
Great read!! Each chapter is introduced with the bad guy’s creepy letters to his son or daughter, and the story is highlighted with excellent descriptions of the beautiful town in nestled in the woods and mountains in WV where ‘Trial by Twelve’ takes place. This novel demonstrates how people of faith can respond to daily, as well as extreme challenges, when keeping one’s eyes on the Lord. Tess Spencer met Detective Tucker as a result of murders occurring behind the Crystal Mountain Spa where Tess works part time. While excavation was underway on an outdoor pool, the work crew found a decades-old burial place of eight skeletons! Almost as proof that the bones were not there by accident, the body of a recently-murdered woman was left, killed in the same eerie way. Someone has their eye on the spa, someone who has killed many times, and may kill again if Detective Tucker, a top-notch woodsman and hunter, is unable to find the serial killer. The spa was shut down until the investigation was done, but Tess was there to answer phones and help the IT guy working on their computers. Tess spoke often with the detective when they were both at the spa. There was much to discuss, especially the clues that the killer purposely left behind to lead them on. Tess’ husband did not want her involved in the investigation, but she did appreciate trying to discover who the murderer was with the camo-clad cop.The suspense grew exponentially as the suspect list multiplied and more women were found murdered. Tess and her husband Thomas, a hard-working attorney, have a young daughter, “Mira Brooke”, short for Miranda Brooke, after one of Tess’ best friends whose health was rapidly failing. I like Tess! She began attending church about a year before, a blessing that her husband was thankful for. She was growing in faith and prayer, and read her Bible often. She had once given up on Jesus after events that occurred as a child and young adult, but she said what is true for who have been prodigals – “Jesus never wrote me off.” She’s real; I appreciated her feelings about her faith and fears, as she echoes what many of we wives might say of husbands: “When he prays, mountains seem to move. When I pray, things tend to get worse. Or – even more unbearably – nothing happens at all.” It was, however, like watching her faith grow even as the worries about the crimes grew. Tess, Thomas, Nikki Jo, and Charlotte (Miranda’s daughter, Tess’ friend) are very well-defined. I like each of them; they are three dimensional Christians who go forward each day in spite of their flaws and scars. Peripheral characters are as defined as necessary for their roles, whether kind, overbearing, or creepy. The killer, whoever he might be, has revealed almost everything about himself, except his and his offspring's names, through his creepy clues. The plot is complex, detailed, and very finely takes the reader through hunting a serial killer that at once brings the reader taut with suspense, and relaxed as the prayers for safety of the Spencer family are answered. I began to suspect almost everybody, and was surprised to see who the murderer really was. I highly recommend this to fans of Heather Day Gilbert, and all who appreciate Christian views and excellent suspense novels. With a grateful heart, I received a copy of this book through the “For Readers Only” group at The Book Club Network, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own; no monetary compensation was received.
Cindy-J More than 1 year ago
“These letters may be hard for you to read, but someday you will ask who your father was. I have to explain why things turned out this way.” Thus begins Trial By Twelve, a murder mystery written by Heather Day Gilbert. Tess Spencer is working part-time for the spa at the edge of town when expansion excavation unearths eight skeletons. Tess loves a puzzle and has been instrumental in solving a case in the past. She willingly teams up with Detective Zechariah “Zeke” Tucker to solve the mystery of who the serial killer is. What a fabulous book! I was hooked from page one. Ms. Gilbert did an excellent job of building interest and suspense. There were plenty of twists and turns, but there was no repetition. Clues and hints were given, but the ending was a well-kept surprise. Although this is book two in a series, it could be read as an independent story. I had not read book one, but I would love to do so. I did not want to put this book down. If you enjoy murder mysteries, I highly recommend this book. I received a copy of this book through The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review.
ARS8 More than 1 year ago
Trial by Twelve by Heather Day Gilbert is my first read by her and I thoroughly enjoyed it. This is the second in the series, A Murder in the Mountains, but it can be read as a standalone. I own her Viking historical and the first in this series, but unfortunately due to time constraints I needed to read and review this one first. However, I plan to rectify that soon. I have just in the past few years been reading mystery and suspense and have read a lot of good ones. This one is by far my favorite. This continues the adventures of Tess a loving wife and mother to a sweet baby girl just working a part time job at a mountain spa to help pay for her husband’s law school loans. Thomas, her husband, I instantly liked and I do wish there was more of Tess and Thomas time together. I do understand that this all takes place in a relatively short time and Thomas was working a lot to provide for his family too. When construction workers digging on the spa property find a human bone, the police are called in and discover a mass grave of eight bodies. For about ¾ of the book at the beginning of each chapter we have a very delusional father writing letters to his child through the years. Now this man seems to be getting more dangerous each passing year and we as the reader along with Tess and the police do not know if his child is male or female. That makes everyone suspect then from Tess’s peace loving boss, to the creepy computer guy, to the very strange masseur. Even the lead cop is a bit off. I will state that at times Tess, kind of like a Nancy Drew character, helping the investigation as much as she was seemed a little bit far-fetched but this was a fun, creepy, could not stop turning the pages kind of novel. I look forward to more stories, past and future by Ms. Gilbert. I received a copy for an honest review from The Book Club Network, Inc. (TBCN) and the opinions are my own.
KMarkovich More than 1 year ago
What a mystery! The book alternates between Tess Spencer’s narrative and letters – from a mystery writer to a child left behind. But who wrote the letters and what do they mean for the story? And who has read them? Just when I would have a suspicion of what was going on, there would be a twist! I could not put this book down as I had to keep reading to find out who the murderer was and who would he get before he was caught. Tess is the receptionist at a new spa in town. She’s also the new mom to baby Mira and wife to Thomas, a lawyer. When human remains are discovered during an excavation for a pool for the spa, things become dangerous. Who is her boss really? And the huge masseuse named Teeny? Is Detective Tucker really safe? This book is the second in the series but really stands alone – there are just a few references to the previous mystery but this story does not hinge on that one. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it! I received this book from in return for my honest opinion.
Bookworm1135 More than 1 year ago
Another great edge of your seat mystery by Heather Day Gilbert! I was excited to read this next mystery in the series and I was not disappointed! This series has two of the best mysteries I have read and the second one was even better than the first. The serial killer succeeded in raising the tension and the stakes resulting in another awesome case for Tess to solve. Also, I'm extremely impressed with Mrs. Gilbert's character development. The characters are fun and realistic. She strikes the perfect balance in her novels between the mystery and their ordinary, everyday lives and relationships. Both aspects succeed in moving the book forward without being overwhelming. I actually enjoy the character's non-mystery stories as much as the mystery and can't wait to revisit the wonderful members of the Spencer family in the third book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel by Heather Day Gilbert. The way she presented the characters made me actually feel like I knew each of them. The mystery and suspense kept me from putting this book down and tending to some tasks that I should have been doing but they just had to wait. To me, this author can paint pictures with words and bring you to tears one minute and anger to situations the next. I certainly recommend this book to anyone interested in good, clean mysteries. I was given this book by the Book Club Network for my honest review.
dhiggins4 More than 1 year ago
This book was astounding! I couldn't put it down! Heather Day Gilbert had me guessing until the very end. "Trial by Twelve" follows Tess Spencer. Tess was introduced in the first book in "A Murder in the Mountains" series. However, you don't have to read the first book in the series to follow what's happening in this book. Tess works at a day spa. She is enjoying her job until a pool installation turns up eight skeletons in the spa's background. Tess can't help but get involved in solving this mystery. However, as she becomes more involved in solving the mystery, the closer she gets to being the killer's next victim! I would highly recommend this book to anyone. It was written in the first person point of view which is my favorite. I can't wait to read more books by Heather Day Gilbert. I received this book from bookfun for my honest opinion.
Maryar39 More than 1 year ago
"Trial by Twelve," is book two in "A Murder in the Mountains" series, by Heather Day Gilbert. Book one, "Miranda Warning," is not necessary in order to understand book two. The main character, Tess, is back, and she works at a new age spa, and her co-workers are a rather strange lot. When a body is found at her place of employment the police are seeking information and Tess can't seem to stop herself from getting involved. Tess is a loving mother and a faithful wife, although she makes foolish choices more than once (inviting a man over for dessert when her spouse is not home and risking her life for a case). Each chapter starts with a letter from a father to his child, who is writing these letters is a mystery! Does the letter writer have anything to do with the murder?? Who is the mysterious child? Will Tess remain safe when someone comes after her? You will have to read the book to find out. Tess' mother-in-law is an amazing blessing in her life and I love the close knit family portrayed in this story. I like how the author tossed in the conceal carry permit and the family shooting event! This is a clean story, it is easy to read and enjoyable. I received this book from The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review.
CO-Heather More than 1 year ago
Trial by Twelve, is book two in a series by Heather Day Gilbert. The first book, Miranda Warning, helps to know pieces of the main character’s back story, but it’s not necessary in order to understand Trial by Twelve. I’m starting to find that any book by Heather Day Gilbert is worth the time to read, though! This book brings us to Tess easing in to a new job, only to find upheaval when bones are found in a remodeling project at work. Tess is the kind of person that just can’t help herself but get involved when help is needed (and sometimes when it isn’t!). She truly loves her family, knowing how very special they are, but yet she puts the investigation ahead of her own safety. She is somewhat of an insider for the detective leading the investigation and we’re taken left and right trying to figure out what character might actually be the bad guy. With that, we are introduced to the challenge of her relationship with her husband. He desires to protect her, and while she loves that protection, she seeks to live out her independence so vital to surviving her upbringing. This is one of my favorite parts of the author – she develops the characters so well that the reader feels like they know all about them. As Tess talks to herself, you feel like you’re in the car with her (or wherever she happens to be). Each chapter opens with letters from father to child, each getting significantly more disturbing. Gilbert writes in such a way that you almost start questioning if it’s the father or the child that we’re trying to discover. Or perhaps is a team effort. So many questions, and no answers until we get close to the end! There are many side story lines that keep the story flowing. I enjoy the complex relationships that bring richness to the story in addition to the suspense of the investigation. This is the first book I’ve read in a while that made me want to ignore all my responsibilities and just sit and read. An excellent choice even if you’ve not heard of this author. Definitely one to check out! This book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review by the Book Club Network.
chrisGA More than 1 year ago
If you have read the first in the MURDER IN THE MOUNTAINS series, MIRANDA WARNING, you will have already fallen in love with Tess and the entire Spencer clan. You will have rejoiced over the way Tess and Thomas's relationship matured and welcomed the arrival of their baby girl. If you have not read MIRANDA WARNING, that's okay too. This second book in the series is fine as a standalone. The reader can easily pick up the lives of the warm and spontaneous Spencers, almost two years after the close of the first book. The chemistry between the characters in the extended Spencer family is the heart of TRIAL BY TWELVE. Peter and Andrew provide some comic relief, and Nikki Jo pours out love and wisdom to them all. Although sadly Miranda is no longer an integral part of her life, Miranda’s daughter, Charlotte, has become Tess’s new best friend. Once again I am moved by the way loving, caring people have filled the life of the lonely, confused child Tess once was. Thomas has a new job offer, and Tess works part-time at a fancy spa. Things seem to be going great.....until bodies start being uncovered, and Tess is drawn once again into a murder investigation. The snippets of letters from the serial killer to his child that begin each chapter contrast nicely with the ideal Spencer family values, happiness, and love. Their very wholesome natures make his creepiness more dramatic. I obviously thoroughly enjoyed my time with all the Spencers. The mystery is intriguing and well developed. There are a plenty of suspects, and the challenge is to try to match one with the details from the letters. Lots of danger and suspense…wrapped in the story of real people dealing with the problems of life with faith and strengthened by the love and support of family. I highly recommend this book. I received it through The Book Club Network, but the opinions expressed are solely mine.
LN_A More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed the chance to reconnect with Tess Spencer and her family in this second Murder in the Mountains Mystery! Having grown up in the Blue Ridge Mountains, I find the small town, Appalachian setting appealing. I appreciate how the author chose to cast Tess, the main character, as a young wife and mother who works part-time. The first-person narrative style makes it both easy for me to relate to the protagonist and also heightens the mystery surrounding the antagonist.  I received an early reader copy in exchange for my honest review.
DKStevens119 More than 1 year ago
Eight skeletons are dug up  in the spa's back yard! Tess becomes entangled in a who dunnit and becomes a target herself. I was drawn in from the start and I thought I had it figured out a few times.. No, I didn't until the last chapter and what an ending!   I love a good mystery and I agree - this was an unpredictable psychological mystery replete with memorable characters! I found  the characters  real and believable. If you love a good mystery with some great twists you will enjoy this one!!  I was gifted a copy for my honest opinion which I have given.  This novel is written from a Christian worldview. 
RaechelK More than 1 year ago
Wow! What a spectacular, on-the-edge-of-your-seat mystery! I read this book as fast as I possibly could – I needed to know who the killer was. Heather Day Gilbert has a gift for writing, and I just love how smoothly and well-crafted every book comes out. “Trial by Twelve” was thrilling, and I think, even better than the first in this series. It was truly riviting. :) And so realistic! The characters were so real to me, and felt so familiar. It was great ‘visiting’ the characters from the first book – felt so homey. :) And Mrs. Gilbert sure knows how to write crazies for characters – goodness, the killer was creepy! But the Christianity in this book was stronger than the last, and I believe shown nicely. I could always go for some more (I love me some God-centered books) but I know a lot of people prefer the subtleness of faith in books. This had that ‘vibe’ to it. One of the quotes I liked and high-lighted on my kindle copy was this: “Her [Miranda] numerous biblical commentaries and Bible notebooks remind me of how close she walked with God. I feel so inadequate in the face of her faith, but I know she’d tell me we each grow at our own speed and the point is to be growing,” – location 3088 Sometimes it was a little weird that Tess never filled her husband in on some things, but I guess I can still understand how that happens in some marriages. Not being married myself doesn’t give me the point of position to know for sure. ;) One thing that I was just ‘ehhh’ on was the comment about her baby and cat being hyper because of a full-moon. I’ve heard that before, but I’m just not so sure about that. But all in all, I really enjoyed this book – this mystery! – and am looking forward to more from Mrs. Gilbert! Oh and the cover is lovely, isn’t it? I think it’s beautiful! Thank you so much, Mrs. Gilbert, for allowing me to be one of your early readers! I received a complimentary ecopy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.
SusanSnodgrassBookworm More than 1 year ago
Heather Gilbert rocks a mystery! Trial By Twelve is the second in her A Murder In The Mountains series featuring Tess Spencer. The first book in the series, Miranda Warning, was so good and I couldn't wait for the second. Now I wish it hadn't ended so soon! Women are turning up dead in the woods behind the new spa in the small WV town of Buckneck. Tess has been working there part time and decides to do a little sleuthing of her own. Well, things just proceed from there, danger comes closer to home and I won't reveal anymore for fear of spoilers. Heather has created characters that seem so real, they are just your own neighbors. I love them all! Nikki Jo, Thomas, Andrew, Petey, Charlotte, I could go on.  One other thing Heather does very well indeed and that is craft a tight mystery that is done so well the reader has no clue whatsoever until the very last moment. THEN she throws in ANOTHER surprise you had NO idea was coming! I was gasping every few minutes right at the end. AND...the last sentence blew me away! I can't wait to see if there is another book in this series. There better be! Because Heather left us all hanging by a sharp cliff. Love, love, love her books. *I was given a free copy of this book by the author in exchange for my honest review, which I have given. 1 lik