"Trapped on Cedar Trails" By K.L. Abrahamson: Review/Giveaway

Review by Kathleen Costa

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book and a link to purchase it.

Not Another Body!

Fifty-eight-year-old retired teacher Phoebe Clay is back in Vancouver struggling with the summer heat in her very small, ninth-floor flat. Life for Phoebe has become a series of unfortunate “wrong place, wrong time” trials from the murder of a young man while she and her niece were kayaking off the British Columbia coast (Through Dark Water), then the body of the guide is found while touring the historic city of Kochi, India, with her sister and niece (Beneath Malabar Nets), and finally a dead uncle and a missing girl expose a dark and exotic Cambodia (Within Angkor Shadows). Phoebe had developed PTSD after experiencing a school shooting that claimed the lives of three students. In the aftermath, the principal denied, more accurately lied, about having any knowledge of the powder keg that had been brewing and contradicted Phoebe’s account that she had reported her concerns to him. This, unfortunately, put her in the forefront of the blame game, and although she had saved several students that day, her career was over.

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Image Source Twisted Root Books
Her sister Becca Standish, younger by nearly a decade, with her teenaged daughter Alice moved to be nearer to Phoebe while she dealt with the emotional scars, but the move had its own challenges, and it didn’t help their relationship when the three were caught up in some intense situations that resulted in a life-threatening scare for Becca and Alice. Having family nearby is a relief and her desire to build a more trusting relationship with her younger sister Becca is a goal, even if she’ll need to bite her tongue when Becca gets snarky.

Trapped on Cedar Trails Earns 5/5 Boot Prints…Compelling & Intriguing Gem!

Her, now fifteen-year-old, niece Alice, is a delight, but when she calls asking for “Auntie Bee,” Phoebe knows she wants something…and she did! Slathering on a few sighs, pleases, and a tease of cooler temperatures and open spaces, Alice needs her aunt to be a chaperone for several teenagers, a skill for which Phoebe has twenty-five years of experience as a high-school teacher. Alice, as the youngest participant, is very talented and had earned a scholarship to attend a week-long photography program, but with the prospect the program will be cancelled if another chaperone can’t be found, Alice is desperate. Phoebe makes sure Alice understands the gravity of her request and the resulting quid pro quo! Becca, too, will be attending, thankful Phoebe treated the situation as a teachable moment for her daughter, but is adamant that Phoebe not “go running off placing her daughter or any of the other students in danger.”

Their destination, Bella Vista, may afford cooler, if not wetter, weather and definitely a change of scenery, however isolated, but it took two days of driving to get there with Becca generally clinging to the dashboard due to Phoebe’s driving on twisting and turning roads and Alice eating every pastry. Nerves are a bit touchy, but they’ve arrived safely. However, their departure to the island accommodations is delayed by rough water and finding the body of a girl floating in the surf. Becca is not pleased, and Phoebe questions whether she’s a magnet for such occurrences.

Couldn’t put it down! Karen Abrahamson’s fourth book was my introduction to her Phoebe Clay Mystery series, and although I worried that I might be at a disadvantage starting well into the series, there were more than enough references, without spoilers, to help support character connections and motivations…finding bodies seems to be a common occurrence not lost on Phoebe, Alice, and especially Becca. The mystery was complex, yet easy to read, incorporating some fascinating insights into poaching, bear farming, and alternate medicinal therapies. The emotions were exacerbated by sibling conflicts, Phoebe’s PTSD, and the eerie sense of being watched with voices at night, a shadow, unexplained boot prints, and evidence lodged in the rocks. The RCMP sergeant “Dave” and conservation officials may welcome Phoebe’s involvement, but, as an amateur, she isn’t without her interference and cause for concern. It gets worse with strange goings on, abandoned buildings, and curious evidence…all leading to another nail-biting, life-threatening conclusion! What a journey!

Abrahamson’s style is very engaging with descriptions of the natural and aging environment mirroring what is seen through the eye of an artist or, in this context, a photographer seeing more than just the color, rust, or crumbling buildings but the story or feeling attached to the image. She also does well to create an eerie sense of foreboding with the isolation, the vast expanse of water and woods, and the weather that either highlights or shrouds the uneasiness. Along with the mystery and multi-generational personalities, she provides interesting insights into various dynamics between sisters, a mother/daughter, aunt/niece, teen/teen, and the adults/teenagers. Engaging. Enjoyable. Entertaining.

Phoebe Clay Mystery (Amazon page)

Through Dark Water (2015)

Beneath Malabar Nets (2021)

Within Angkor Shadows (2022)

Trapped on Cedar Trails (2022)

Be a Big K.L. Abrahamson Fan!

Karen L. Abrahamson has had such a rich life that ultimately has been key to her life as an eclectic author of mystery, romance, and fantasy. In DetectiveKazakov Mystery, she offers an alternate Russian history, formation of a new small country, and complex cases investigated by Detective Kazakov. In her romance series, TheUnlocking Saga she combines gothic mystery, mythology, and romance. In her urban fantasy, TheAmerican Geological Survey, she puts “terror” in the terrorists for agents from a secret part of Homeland Security to thwart. Check the links! The first book in each series “was” free…don’t miss out!

Facebook: Karen L. Abrahamson

Website: Karen Abrahamson

To enter to win a copy of Trapped on Cedar Trails-Winner’s choice: ebook (worldwide) OR print copy (US and Canada only), simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "cedar,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen December 3, 2022. US residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win. If entering via comment please include your email address so we can contact you. BE SURE TO STATE IF YOU WANT EBOOK OR PRINT. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode goes up next week.

You can use this link to purchase the book or click here. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is a 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying her retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband.
Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time
    can be unfortunate. Hopefully things will
    improve. sounds like a good read. thanks

  2. New author to me. Sounds like a great book.

  3. Would love to get a copy! tWarner419@aol.com

  4. A book about a retired teacher like me!! I would love to win it and read/review.

  5. oops! lindaherold999(at)gmail(dot)com

  6. We have a winner!
    Lorie Ham

  7. We have a winner!
    Lorie Ham


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