Erin Hart may be a "midwesterner" but she has obviously spent a great deal of time in Ireland and has immersed herself in the history, music, and culture of Ireland. Her debut book in the Nora Gavin series is a wonderful blend of science, history and folklore. Nora and Cormac track down local elders and musicians in their search for answers to mysteries old and new. The plot and characters are complex, she does a great job with creating atmosphere, and there are plenty of red herrings to keep the reader guessing. The romance between Nora and Cormac is understated and undeveloped, and presumably will develop in future books. I didn't find it added anything and could have been left out. There is also the (unsolved) background mystery of the murder of Nora's sister. So I'll give it 3 stars with room to grow.
Book description: Read by Jennifer McMahon. When farmers cutting turf in an Irish peat bog make a grisly discovery - the perfectly intact head of a young woman with long red hair - Irish archaeologist Cormac Maguire and American pathologist Nora Gavin are thrown together by their shared scientific interest in human remains. Because of the preservative effect of the bog, it is difficult to tell whether the head has lain there for two decades, two centuries, or two millennia. As they dig into the mystery of the red-haired girl, they are drawn into the two-year-old disappearance of a landowner's wife and young son. The story delves through the many layers of Ireland's turbulent past, tracing the still-visible footprints of fortified tower houses and ancient burial mounds, ever mindful of the eternal, subliminal connections between past and present.
#1 Haunted Ground
#2 Lake of Sorrows
#3 False Mermaid
#4 The Book of Killowen