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Wednesday, January 18, 2023

The Low Road by Jo A. Hiestand - Book Tour - Book Sale - Book Review - Giveaway - Enter Daily!

Hey, lovelies!!  It gives me great pleasure today to host Jo A. Hiestand and her new book, “The Low Road,” here on FAB!!  For other stops on her Goddess Fish Promotions Book Tour, please click on the banner above or any of the images in this post.

Be sure to make it to the end of this post to enter to win a $25 Amazon OR Barnes and Noble Gift Card!!  Also, come back daily to interact with Jo and to increase your chances of winning!!

This eBook is on SALE for ONLY $0.99 during the book tour!!!  See below for more details.

Thanks for stopping by!!  Wishing you all lots of good luck in this fabulous giveaway!!

The Low Road

The McLaren Mysteries Series

Book 16

by Jo A. Hiestand


GENRE: British Mystery



Former police detective Michael McLaren arrives in Scotland, ready to immerse himself in the fun of the Highland Games and to enjoy a holiday with Melanie. But the old saying of plans oft going awry rears its ugly head: Simon Shaw, a member of McLaren's folk group, dies. Murdered a year to the day following his uncle's death.

McLaren is determined to find out who killed Simon. Needing justice for his friend is only half of his incentive. He also needs to appease his guilt for suggesting the group sing there in the first place.

As McLaren becomes immersed in the investigation, he wonders if the two deaths are linked, or have to do with the family or their clan. Perhaps Simon's former wife killed him, bent on revenge more powerful than mere divorce. Or was the killing tied to an old hunt for diamonds? After all, diamonds aren't only a girl's best friend. Sometimes they birth greed and murder. And entrap the innocent.



Jamie set the cup down, nearly breaking it. "Oh no. You asked me up here to help Mike and I'm going to. Alone. This could be very dangerous, dealing with a criminal. Mike would never forgive me if..." He broke off, a memory of Mike's fiancée welling up in his mind. Shaking his head, he repeated, "No. He'd have my guts for garters if something were to happen to you. I appreciate you wanting to help, Melanie, but I can't agree."

"You need me as your front, Jamie. I think that's the word. Someone to lend credence to the reason you want to find Paul. If I go with you and I have a nice piece of jewelry, you won't seem dodgy." Her eyebrows rose as she gave him a faint smile. She seemed to be holding her breath.


"A woman hocking her jewelry won't have the whiff of the fishmonger, especially if she seems reluctant to part with an heirloom.  We can even have a bit of dialogue about having to part with great aunt Agnes' favorite necklace. And while I've got his attention, you can have a shufti around his place to suss out what the police will need to pinch him unawares."

Jamie scratched his head, clearly astonished. "I've never heard you use these words before, Melanie. Dodgy. Shufti, Suss out. Fishmonger. Where'd you get them?"

"I listen to Mike. What about it, Jamie? I won't let you down. I was in the thespian club in school."



This book, “The Low Road,” is an intriguing, mysterious, suspenseful British Mystery filled with deep-rooted Scotland history, exciting Highland Games, captivating characters, and a complicated murder investigation full of suspects!!!

I really enjoyed teaming back up again with one of my favorite investigators, McLaren!!

This is the fifth book I’ve had the pleasure of reading from accomplished author, Jo A. Hiestand.  I was very excited to get the chance to read her latest work – “The Low Road,” which is Book Sixteen in the McLaren Mysteries Book Series, especially since it had been a while since I had the chance to enjoy this beloved book series.  After having left off the series with, “Hide and Seek,” Book Twelve in the McLaren Mysteries Book Series, I was fired up to jump across the pond to Scotland and join McLaren on another exciting murder mystery!!  Even after sadly having to skip over the past four books, I had no trouble getting back into this series without any confusion.

This particular book, “The Low Road,” follows McLaren and his girlfriend, Melanie on a holiday in Scotland to enjoy the Highland Games.  While McLaren is focused on spending time with Melanie, catching up with friends and family, and performing with his band at the Games, his vacation gets uprooted when one of his bandmates, Simon is murdered.  While McLaren has solved his fair share of murder cases, this case presents with many suspects all with powerful motives, leading McLaren’s plans of a fun, easygoing, and relaxing retreat to be anything but!!

At the beginning of this book, before his murder, Simon confides in McLaren about his Uncle Alan having been murdered exactly one year ago here at the Games.  As Simon continues mentioning that the case was never solved and that his uncle’s killer is still out there, he pleads for McLaren to help investigate and finally catch his uncle’s killer.  While McLaren feels for Simon’s loss and the injustice of the killer still out on the streets, McLaren had hoped this trip would be free of investigations and murders – little did he know he was about to be caught up in two!!  McLaren had barely started investigating the crime scene of Uncle Alan’s murder case before he literally stumbled upon a dead body – Simon’s.  While these two cases were a year apart and appear to be under different circumstances, McLaren can’t help but wonder if these two cases are actually connected??  Same killer??  Did Simon know more than he thought??  Did the killer find out McLaren was looking into the case and decide to tie up loose ends??  Is the killer targeting Uncle Alan’s family and if so, who’s next on his list after Uncle Alan's nephew Simon??  Or perhaps this is all just a coincidence??  (For all those Gibbs fans, Rule 39 – there’s no such thing as a coincidence!!)  Regardless, McLaren is now working both cases and is determined to find the killer or killers.

As with Hiestand’s clever writing style filled with red herrings, misdirects, and false trails – this book is brimming with suspicious murder suspects chock-full of secrets, lies, and motives!!

Clearly, McLaren has his work cut out for him as he dives into the wide array of suspects and motives, some of which include an old clan family vendetta, an ex-wife hellbent on revenge, a quarrel over a diamond hunt and a partner left out of the score, a greedy fortune hunter looking for his next big payday, and a lazy, avaricious future son-in-law eagerly awaiting a large family inheritance upon marriage.  As the story weaves through each scenario and suspect, McLaren carefully whittles down the list moving closer and closer to finding the killer(s).

I really enjoyed the main characters, McLaren, Melanie, Jamie, Uncle Brandon, and Grandfather Neill, along the many secondary characters that added support and depth to the story.  As always, I enjoyed McLaren, his strong, handsome, sincere, focused, determined, stubborn demeanor.  And I felt for McLaren as he struggled with the guilt of feeling trapped between his duty of needing to nab the killer(s) and having to cancel plans with Melanie while on their holiday vacation.  I also really liked Melanie and how good she is for McLaren, and just as equally stubborn lol.  I recall several books back, McLaren was left heartbroken and distraught after the tragic murder of his fiancé, Dena.  Understandably, McLaren was damaged, in need of healing, but reluctant to let any women get close to him.  It is wonderful to see this character’s substantial development and growth – and to see him happy again!!  I was also happy to see that Jamie is still around as McLaren’s best mate, and while Jamie wasn’t able to be at the Games at first, he still made a strong appearance in the first half of the book via phone calls and emails as a helpful sounding board.  However, I was excited in the second half of the book, that Jamie was eventually able to team up alongside his mentor and best mate, McLaren, and their new unofficial teammate, Melanie.  I really enjoy books with strong partnerships, and McLaren and Jamie continue to fit that bill.  I also recall McLaren had previously gone through some family drama and was still mending those fences, so it was great to see him still on the ins with the family and spending time with Uncle Brandon, Grandfather Neill, and other extended family.

I am a huge fan of the Olympics, having been to 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City when I was a kid, so I was very intrigued by the Highland Games and really enjoyed this story line!!

As always, I truly appreciate Hiestand’s tenacity for accuracy, creating realistic story lines truly takes her writing skills to the next level.  I also love the in-depth amount of research she did while constructing this book.  It is clear that she is very familiar and well-versed in British police procedures, Scotland history and cultural norms, the McLaren clan records, and useful Gaelic words and phrases.  That plus her love and passion for all things U.K. really shine through in her writings.

I loved the added extras the author provided at the beginning of the book, which included a list of characters with a short description of who they are and how they relate in the story, and a short glossary of unfamiliar Gaelic words that not only included the definition, but also a pronunciation key.  All these extras really enhanced the story and provided important details for the reader to easily follow along.  However, I must note that I was surprised to see Melanie listed only as McLaren’s friend.  As it seems she has appeared in the last few books, with each bringing these two characters closer and closer together and after having professed their love multiple times now, it seems the term friend isn’t quite fitting for these two – perhaps McLaren’s girlfriend, love interest, lady, lady friend, special friend, sweetheart, etc.  I just felt she was mislabeled, Jamie is McLaren’s friend, Melanie is something more.

There are some predictable scenes.  However, there are still a few unexpected twists and turns that you won’t see coming!

This book is Book Sixteen of the McLaren Mysteries Book Series.  Although, this book is part of a book series, it can absolutely be read on its own as a standalone.  As you can see from my past reviews, I’ve randomly been reading books throughout the series, starting with book seven, then nine, ten, twelve, and now sixteen – and haven’t got lost yet lol!!  However, there are strong and significant character and story line overlaps so it may be more enjoyable to start with book one to get the full benefits of this book series!!

All in all, I really enjoyed reading this book and would absolutely recommend it – and this book series!!  I think all British Mystery readers and mystery book fans will be sure to like this book too!!  So, add it to your TBR List and get to reading – you won’t be disappointed!!

**Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book and have voluntarily provided an honest, and unbiased review in accordance with FTC regulations**

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Jo A. Hiestand grew up on regular doses of music, books, and Girl Scout camping. She gravitated toward writing in her post-high school years and finally did something sensible about it, graduating from Webster University with a BA degree in English and departmental honors. She writes a British mystery series (the McLaren Mysteries)—of which three books have garnered the prestigious N.N. Light’s Book Heaven ‘Best Mystery Novel’ three years straight. She also writes a Missouri-based cozy mystery series (The Cookies & Kilts Mysteries, of which "A Trifling Murder" is the second book) that is grounded in places associated with her camping haunts. The camping is a thing of the past, for the most part, but the music stayed with her in the form of playing guitar and harpsichord, and singing in a folk group. Jo carves jack o’ lanterns badly and sings loudly. She loves barbecue sauce and ice cream (separately, not together), kilts (especially if men wear them), clouds and stormy skies, and the music of G.F. Handel. You can usually find her pulling mystery plots out of scenery—whether from photographs or the real thing.

















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Jo will be awarding a $25 Amazon OR Barnes and Noble Gift Card (Winner’s Choice!!!) to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.

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This contest is sponsored by a third party. Fabulous and Brunette is a registered host of Goddess Fish Promotions.  Prizes are given away by the sponsors and not Fabulous and Brunette. The featured author and Goddess Fish Promotions are solely responsible for the giveaway prize.


  1. Thank you for sharing your awesome review of The Low Road, this sounds like an excellent book and series and I want to read all of the stories