Field Of Graves,
by J. T. Ellison, the first book in the Taylor Jackson series,
is a great read. Those who have never read this series will
enjoy a gripping story with well-developed characters. Fans
of this series will learn about the characters’ backstories,
sometimes seeing them in a different light.
The story has two characters facing their demons, Lieutenant
Taylor Jackson and FBI profiler Dr. John Baldwin. They both
must overcome the psychological scars of killing their co-workers,
either directly or indirectly. Forgiveness is a major theme
where they have to forgive themselves to survive. They work
together to help each other recover and to find a serial killer
who is murdering Vanderbilt college students in Nashville.
Part of the team is medical examiner Dr. Samantha Owens, a
friend of Taylors. Ellison takes readers on a journey with
Taylor’s team, the Murder Squad, as they attempt to
find who is responsible for the killings. As the story notes,
“The Murder Squad” is not based on the Scotland
Yard detectives in the Victorian era, but high elite Nashville
homicide detectives whose closure rate was 83%.
What makes the story so compelling is the interaction between
the characters. Anyone following the series will see how they
have grown and changed over the past decade. Samantha is still
blunt and a sister-like best friend to Taylor, but they have
seemed to change roles. While Samantha is happy and carefree,
Taylor is tough, smart, likeable, and has a troubled edge.
Her kindred spirit is Dr. John Baldwin, someone she saved
emotionally. He is nothing like the person in the later novels,
behaving tough as nails. Together they have unconditional
love and make each other whole.
Ellison writes Taylor as being very black and white, without
any grey. She came up with the character because she wanted
a female homicide detective “with a moral compass who
is half cop, half rock star, and someone who loves her town
of Nashville. I did not want her to be this tortured female
who did not have the respect of her peers. But rather, someone
good at what she does and is accepted for her intelligence
and ability. I wanted to make sure my heroine was not a victim.
I would describe her as Athena, the warrior-goddess of Nashville.”
A loveable supporting character is Jade the cat that adds
to the storyline. Ellison noted, “Jade is my muse. She
is real. I had lost a cat and was unemployed when I found
Jade. I adopted her and after taking her to a vet I found
a job there. I actually hurt my back picking up a dog, and
while recovering decided to become a crime writer like John
Sandford. I chose the Nashville setting because I wanted to
learn more about my new town. The world knows it as the home
of country music, yet it’s a much more complex, dynamic
city than it first appears, and has a cosmopolitan air. We
have the old South rubbing elbows with newfound fame and fortune.
We have a serious dichotomy between the upper and lower classes,
and a lot of crime.”
She writes three series. Her latest is A Brit In the FBI,
with legendary author Catherine Coulter. The next book, out
in March of next year, has the FBI delving into the history
of the Ark of the Covenant. Because of the popularity of her
character Dr. Samantha Owens she started a spin off series.
Yet, many times the Taylor and Samantha series overlap characters,
which is the case with the next book, All Fall Down,
a continuation of the stalker serial killer story in What
Lies Behind. Those readers who want to understand more
of these characters can read All The Pretty Girls,
which is being re-published this July.
Field Of Graves is a compelling and captivating novel.
The characters are realistic and interesting. Anyone who reads
this book will want to read all the books in the series.