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Isabella Moon [Kindle Edition]

Laura Benedict
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $3.99

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14th Deadly Sin
Third in the Women's Murder Club series: As violence sweeps through San Francisco, Detective Lindsay Boxer and her friends must risk their lives in the name of justice—before it's too late. Read more about authors James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Book Description

Editorial Reviews

“This debut thriller shines, boasting evocative writing and a well-integrated mix
of ethereal supernatural phenomena and gritty violence.”
—Romantic Times (4 ½ Stars)

“Rewarding … Benedict’s debut is a small-town thriller with a hint of the supernatural and compelling, well-drawn characters.”
—Library Journal

“Like digging up an unmarked grave in the gloaming, ISABELLA MOON is a tense and creepy hunt for the truth about what lies beneath.  With a missing child, a reluctant medium hiding secrets of her own, and a picture perfect Southern town resting on a foundation of sex, drugs and lies, Laura Benedict’s debut will definitely have readers sleeping with the lights on—if they sleep at all.”
—Lisa Unger, New York Times and internationally bestselling author of
Beautiful Lies and Sliver of Truth

From the Author

Dear Reader,
I hope you'll like ISABELLA MOON. I think you'll find that it satisfies a number of reading categories. It's a mystery with a supernatural soul. It's a thriller that sneaks into horror territory. It has a little sex, romance, and some rock 'n roll. It's a story that strains--for me, anyway--beyond its end pages. Fair warning: it's not for the faint of heart. This is not your grandma's cozy mystery. (Though I do love a good cozy, too!) If you like your fiction a tad on the gritty, open-minded side, then this book's for you.
Happy Reading! --Laura

Product Description

Idyllic Carystown, Kentucky seems to be the perfect place for Kate Russell to hide from a vindictive, abusive husband. She has a good job, a new best friend, and a new man. For two years she’s cautiously happy, until the ghost of Isabella Moon, a nine-year-old girl who’s been missing since Kate came to town, begins to haunt her. No one wants justice for the missing child more than Sheriff Bill Delaney, who considers Isabella’s unsolved disappearance one of his greatest failures. Now, Kate comes to him to say she knows where Isabella’s body is buried, but he doesn’t trust her. He senses her secrets, and when he links her to the murder of one of the town’s most beloved women, he’s certain she’s real trouble. But Kate isn’t the only one with secrets. The good people of Carystown have plenty to hide, and in the middle of it all is Isabella Moon.

About the Author

Laura Benedict is also the author of DEVIL'S OVEN, an Appalachian Gothic novel, and the supernatural suspense novel, CALLING MR. LONELY HEARTS. She edited the three-volume SURREAL SOUTH anthology series with her husband, Pinckney Benedict. Her work has appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Thrillers: 100 Must-Reads, Noir at the Bar, and other anthologies. She has no respect for genre boundaries and delights in treating her readers to the unexpected. You can visit her website at, or tweet with her at @laurabenedict.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

At the start of Benedict's plodding debut, Kate Russell, a recent transplant to the sleepy town of Carystown, Ky., is convinced she knows where nine-year-old Isabella Moon, who has been missing for two years, is buried. Sheriff Bill Delaney is skeptical, especially after Kate admits that Isabella herself led her to the burial site in a dream. Even Kate's only friends, Lillian Cayley and her daughter, Francie, doubt Kate's claim. But Isabella's disappearance is only one of the secrets that lurk beneath Carystown's idyllic exterior. As Kate pursues the matter on her own, Delaney digs deeper into Kate's own troubled past in South Carolina. Soon after the town's intricate web of lies and the long-buried secrets of the Birkenshaws, Carystown's richest family, come to light, Kate finds herself in a fight for her life. A predictable conclusion, underdeveloped characters and implausible subplots make for a less than satisfying thriller. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Sheriff Bill Delaney has his hands full. There's a new lead in the case of a nine-year-old who vanished from a commune two years ago, and a local woman has been viciously murdered, stabbed in the back with a pitchfork. Worst of all for Bill, the heat being generated by upset local citizens has put a strain on his happy marriage. When he discovers the body of the nine-year-old in the corner of a remote cemetery, he's at a loss to explain to the media just how he found it. That's because Kate Russell, new in town, told him where to look, claiming the little girl came to her in a dream and led her to the burial spot. But a little investigation leads Bill to conclude that Kate is not who she claims to be, and his healthy skepticism over all things supernatural puts Kate at the top of his list of suspects. Benedict creates an entertainingly lurid atmosphere as she peoples a small southern town with not one but two psychopaths, a ghostly apparition, and various neurotic young women with some pretty twisted views on romance. Wilkinson, Joanne

Product Details

  • File Size: 1013 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Gallowstree Press (March 22, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007O1CD8A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #397,166 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
In Carystown, Kentucky, the only person more mysterious than the ghost of Isabella Moon is the woman she has been appearing to. Kate Russell arrived in Carystown just a few years ago and made a quiet life for herself in the quaint little town. But, after Isabella, who disappeared two years ago, leads Kate to the spot where her body was hastily buried, Kate risks telling Sheriff Delaney, knowing her own past is at risk of exposure. And Delaney is curious about the attractive and illusive Kate... Soon, though, he has his hands full with a murder of a town matriarch, the death of a high school student and the discovery of Isabella Moon's body. He wonders if these events are all connected and why Kate seems to be at the center of it all. Who is she, really, and what is happening in this small town?

Laura Benedict's debut novel, ISABELLA MOON, is part ghost story, part murder mystery and part examination of the dark side of small town America. While the plot is interesting and suspenseful, it is the characters who really make it compelling. Sheriff Delaney is the classic crotchety career cop, but he is also an outsider to Carystown. Despite having married a woman from one of the town's aristocratic families, he is not originally from Carystown and can see it and its inhabitants with an objective eye. Kate's friend, Francie, is a tough and independent woman, but she is carrying on a secret affair with the town's rich golden boy, Paxton. Paxton himself has a nasty drug habit and is still living at home with his ailing yet strong-willed mother.

When Francie's mother, the well-respected Lillian Cayley, is murdered right after Kate takes her searching for the body of Isabella Moon, Francie's relationships with both Kate and Paxton begin to deteriorate.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars refreshing original mystery October 3, 2007
It has been two years since nine years old Isabella Moon disappeared and the failure to resolve the case eats at Sheriff Bill Delaney. Rationalizing that these things do not happen in quaint Carystown, Kentucky fails to lift the despondent law enforcement official.

No one is more surprised than newcomer Kate Russell when she sees the ghost of Isabella; she follows the spirit to the spot where the little girl was buried. It takes tremendous will power for Kate to inform Bill what she saw as she has dark secrets that could lead to her arrest. Initially Bill assumes Kate is a flake, but he cannot get her statement out of his mind; so reluctantly he digs at the spot she mentioned and uncovers the corpse. Clues lead to Paxton Birkenshow, a blue blood with plenty of money. He is seeing Kate's best friend Francie, a black woman who does not want their relationship made public as her mother believes he is weak. Paxton and Kate mutually despise each other, but she has other woes besides being a suspect in the Isabella murder; her dangerous secret has come to town to reclaim her. These secrets keep Bill busy while changing his life forever.

This is a refreshing original mystery that occurs in a twenty-first century Peyton Place like town. There are many key interesting characters with some providing a third person point of view that moves the exciting story line forward with a reasonable degree of believability and understanding. ISABELLA MOON is a multifaceted police procedural intertwined with subplots that come together to forge a well written recommended whodunit.

Harriet Klausner
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "PEOPLE WHO LIE AVOID EYE CONTACT" October 1, 2007
"People who lie avoid eye contact. And she wasn't lying. At least, not about this." Kate Russell knew very well that she was telling the truth, but would anyone believe her? The disappearance of nine-year-old Isabella Moon some two years ago continued to haunt Sheriff Bill Delaney. Personally, he believed she had run away. Nonetheless, the fact that she had never been found, dead or alive, only compounded the mystery. Carystown, Kentucky was a quiet small town, not the sort of place one would look for a mystery. That is, until Isabella disappeared.

Kate is a recent arrival in this Southern community and a psychic, a gift she wished she did not have. She has come to tell the sheriff that she can take him to Isabella's grave because the dead girl has spoken to her. What would your reaction be to such a claim? And then, what might follow if Kate's story is true?

Laura Benedict's debut novel is a blend of romance, the paranormal, and crime. Unfortunately, for Kate and the sheriff Isabella is only the first to call on Kate for help and the discovery of the girl's body leads to even darker secrets long kept hidden in the hearts and psyches of Carystown's citizenry. As is often true things aren't as they seem nor are people.

Isabella Moon is a story for those who like their mysteries laced with romance and the supernatural. While for this reader the tale seemed to be rather loosely conceived so that it meandered to a conclusion rather than building to it, Isabella Moon is still a first novel worth noting.

- Gail Cooke
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a page turner March 8, 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Any of you city slickers who imagine small-town life is dull ought to read Laura Benedict's suspenseful, sexy, and haunting debut novel, Isabella Moon, as this book set in Carystown, Kentucky, proves otherwise. It's a page turner that is just as much about character as it is about plot. In fact, the characters are richly, artfully drawn with Benedict's deft hand.

And just who is Isabella Moon? Well, she's the missing girl who comes back to haunt the novel's protagonist, Kate, and reveal her secret. But like pulling a thread--one secret revealed leads to another, until all of the town's ugly skeletons are revealed and we learn once and for all that secrets are dangerous and that buried secrets don't stay that way for long.

I was drawn to this book when I saw the spooky book trailer last year and I have to say it did not disappoint and many a night after I'd put the book down and shut out the light, I kept the covers pulled up tight under my chin.

If you like books that keep you guessing, that keep you on the edge of your seat, and that present you with believable, sympathetic characters, then this book is for you. Read it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Page turner
Warning_ you might consider what I'm writing a spoiler. But it's just my feelings on the ending. Okay, so I have mixed feelings. I really liked this book. Read more
Published 9 months ago by samantha
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice read.
good book. I was quickly absorbed in the characters and the storyline. the end left a lot to be desired, though. Read more
Published 17 months ago by lara
2.0 out of 5 stars The premise intriguing, the delivery disappointed.
This book caught my eye because it was set in Kentucky, which is one of my favorite places in the world, and it had a creepy premise--a young woman is haunted by the ghost of a... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Shirley S
2.0 out of 5 stars amateurish first novel
Poorly edited for starters (redundancies, pronoun confusion, spelling errors). The ghost theme was never believeable, nor was the reason and cover-up for the little girl's... Read more
Published 24 months ago by POV
2.0 out of 5 stars Barely adequate
Three largely separate plot lines, involving three largely separate sets of characters, meander to three largely separate conclusions in this oddly disjointed and unsatisfying... Read more
Published on November 20, 2012 by Sharon Roberts
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting and unexpected....
Laura Benedict's first novel, "Isabella Moon," is an exciting and unconventional thriller. It is a mystery, a ghost story, and filled with suspense. Read more
Published on September 22, 2012 by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Suspenseful read that draws in the reader
I enjoyed the suspense of this book and was drawn in early in the story. The detail of the narration helped bring the story to life. Read more
Published on August 1, 2012 by Stephanie C Taliaferro
1.0 out of 5 stars Dreadful Writing, Unlikeable Characters, Tired Plot
When I picked up this book at a thrift store, I was excited -- a literary ghost story/murder mystery ... what's not to love? Unfortunately, I loved nothing. Read more
Published on May 2, 2012 by anonymous
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and chilling tale
Every so often, I read a book so powerful that it pervades my soul, lingering there far longer than most. Laura Benedict's debut novel, ISABELLA MOON, is just such a book. Read more
Published on March 5, 2012 by Jennifer Brooks
4.0 out of 5 stars worth hanging on to re-read
The plot gripped me enough one late night that I stopped reading, I didn't want the plot invading my dreams. Read more
Published on February 11, 2012 by Elizabeth Dunham
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More About the Author

Laura Benedict is the author of the dark suspense novels BLISS HOUSE (Pegasus Crime), DEVIL'S OVEN, a modern Frankenstein tale, ISABELLA MOON, and CALLING MR. LONELY HEARTS (Ballantine). Her work has appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, PANK, and numerous anthologies like Thrillers: 100 Must-Reads (Oceanview), and Slices of Flesh (Dark Moon Books). She originated and edited the Surreal South Anthology of Short Fiction Series with her husband, Pinckney Benedict, and edited Feeding Kate, a charity anthology, for their press, Gallowstree Press. A Cincinnati, Ohio native, Laura grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, and claims both as hometowns. She currently lives with her family in the southern wilds of a Midwestern state, surrounded by bobcats, coyotes, and other less picturesque predators. Find out more, enter her monthly contests, and follow her blog at

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