Blog Tour for The Stars Shine Bright by Sibella Giorello @SibellaGiorello

The Stars Shine Bright
Raleigh Harmon, Book 5
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Back of the book:

After the FBI suspends her for bending its rules, Special Agent Raleigh Harmon is looking for a chance to redeem her career and re-start her life.

Sent undercover to a thoroughbred horse track, Raleigh takes on a double life to find out who’s fixing the races. But when horses start dying and then her own life is threatened, Raleigh realizes something bigger—and more sinister—is ruining Emerald Meadows.

She’s never felt more alone.

Her one contact with the FBI is Special Agent Jack Stephanson, a guy who seems to jump from antagonistic to genuine friend depending on the time of day. And she can’t turn to her family for support. They’re off-limits while she’s undercover, and her mother isn’t speaking to her anyway, having been confined to a mental hospital following a psychotic breakdown. Adding insult to her isolation, Raleigh’s fiancé wants them to begin their life together—now—precisely when she’s been ordered not to be herself.

With just days left before the season ends, Raleigh races to stop the killing and find out who’s behind the track’s trouble, all the while trying to determine if Jack is friend or foe, and whether marrying her fiancé will make things better—or worse.

Raleigh is walking through the darkest night she’s faced, searching for a place where the stars shine bright.

About the author:


Sibella Giorello grew up in the mountains of Alaska admiring the beauty and nature that surrounded her. She majored in geology at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts hoping to learn more about the landscape she loved back home. From there Sibella followed a winding path, much like the motorcycle ride she took across the country, which led to her true love, journalism.

She found herself in Seattle writing for a rock-n-roll magazine and earned a journalism degree from the University of Washington before heading south to the land of great stories. In Virginia, Sibella became a features writer for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. It was there she also met her husband and would hear Jesus whispering her name at a tent revival.
Sibella started writing about Raleigh Harmon as a way to keep her love of storytelling alive while staying at home with her young sons. As a journalist and author, her stories have won state and national awards, including two nominations for the Pulitzer Prize. The Stones Cry Out, the first Raleigh Harmon novel, won a Christy award for debut novel in 2008. Sibella now lives in Washington state with her husband and sons.

My thoughts:

I read my first Raleigh Harmon novel, The Stones Cry Out, back in 2008 and have been eagerly anticipating the next edition each year since. The next in the series was The Rivers Run Dry followed by The Clouds Roll Away and then The Mountains Bow Down.

This year’s release is The Stars Shine Bright. In it Raleigh finds herself back in Seattle, in trouble with the FBI for breaking the rules. As an act of penance/punishment she is given an assignment that is outside the realm of the FBI. She has two weeks to solve a complicated case or she is basically out of the FBI. To make matters even more complicated she’s put under the supervision of Jack Stephanson, who could easily be classified as a frienemy.

Not only has her working life hit a rough patch, her personal life is a shambles as well. She had to make a decision for her mother that went against everything she ever promised her father. Her fiancé is putting unreasonable demands on her. Her sister is not available and her aunt doesn’t share her faith. All of this comes together to make her realize what is important in her life.

This is a wonderful series. I love how the vocabulary makes you stop and think about what is really being said. I would never classify this as a beach read or a cozy mystery. Instead it is more in the realm of classics such as Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple or G.K. Chesterton’s Father Brown with a modern twist.  

When asked my opinion on whether this can be read as a stand-alone title my response is that you really have three choices. The first is of course to read The Stars Shine Bright and pay attention to the background clues. The second would be to at least read The Stones Cry Out so you will get the nuances of what has happened to bring Raleigh to where she is now. The third, and my favorite, is to indulge yourself in the entire series. I’m totally jealous of those that take this option. I’ve had to wait a year between each installment, whereas you can devour them all one after the other.

Will there be another installment in 2013? I don’t know, but I’ll be waiting not so patiently to find out!
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