Review of Bitter Past

Bitter Past

An Ellie Matthews Novel, Book #1

Caroline Fardig

5 Stars


From USA Today bestselling author Caroline Fardig comes a gripping new forensic mystery series. 

Three years ago, criminalist Ellie Matthews was blindsided when a grisly homicide case suddenly became personal. She abandoned the danger and stress of crime scene investigation for a professorship at a posh private college and never looked back. 

Now, Ellie’s pleasant world is shattered when she finds the dead body of a female student. The campus is in chaos, reporters are circling like vultures, and Ellie is trying her best to distance herself from the situation. Not an easy task when her closest colleague becomes the prime suspect. 

After the college community is rocked by another suspicious death, Ellie’s mentor, Sheriff Jayne Walsh, convinces her to consult on the case. Partnered with quick-witted Detective Nick Baxter, Ellie reluctantly bottles up her personal demons and dives back into the world she left behind, racing to make sense of the evidence before the killer strikes again. (Goodreads)


The characters are well developed and well rounded.  Ellie is a smart hardworking woman who has not had a good past.  She has a history of being a criminologist but after an especially gruesome crime scene she left and is now teaching that very same subject.  When she discovers a dead body, she finds herself once again thrown in to the world of crime and death.  I like that Ellie was three dimensional and she was not perfect.  That made her seem more realistic to me.  Detective Nick Baxter is good at his job but he needs Ellie’s expertise if he is going to solve this crime.  I really enjoyed getting to know Ellie and Nick and am looking forward to spending time with them in future books.   

The writing style flows smoothly and the book is a quick easy read.  The author is very talented in her descriptive writing and through much of the book I felt like I was right there watching all the action taking place.  She seems to have a real knowledge of forensics, either from real life experience or great research and that aspect of the story was very believable.  I felt like I learned some things about this subject and I really liked that.

The mystery was well plotted and moved along at just the right pace.  There were enough suspects to consider and enough clues to sift through and with red herrings thrown in, the mystery was not an easy one to solve.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well plotted mystery.  I have read other books written by this author (The Java Jive mysteries) and I really enjoyed them.  Now I have more hard core mysteries to read by this author and I am looking forward to it.    

Bitter Past (Ellie Matthews Novels Book 1) by [Caroline Fardig]