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  • The Mountains Wild

    by Sarah Stewart Taylor

    Illustrations by Katherine Lam

    by Sarah Stewart Taylor

Dear Reader,

I am so excited to share The Mountains Wild with you and to introduce you to my new detective, Maggie D’arcy. Like me, Maggie grew up in a Long Island town with a vibrant Irish American community, hearing many stories about Ireland. But when her beloved cousin Erin disappears in the Wicklow Mountains and Maggie flies to Dublin to find her, Maggie realizes how much she’s misunderstood — about Ireland, about Erin and about their family. Twenty-three years later, new evidence is found in Erin’s case, and Maggie, now a homicide detective and the divorced mother of a teenage daughter, returns to Dublin to see if she can finally find the solution that’s always eluded her.

The Mountains Wild was inspired by my own experiences living in Ireland and by my fascination with memory and how we use our (often imperfect) memories to try to understand the people we love. I can’t wait for you to travel along with Maggie to one of my favorite places in the world as I launch this new series!

Thank you for reading!


A Slow-Burn Mystery

Serialization — releasing a book in sequential installments, often in magazines and newspapers — has been used to build suspense for hundreds of years. Every day over the course of several weeks, two new chapters of Sarah Stewart Taylor's The Mountains Wild were released here. Serialization took advantage of the book's natural chapter arcs — and helped build the mystery before unraveling it. 

All of the chapters are available to read now. Click on the table of contents below to access them, or scroll down the page for a profile piece about the author and brief introductions of each chapter, with wonderful illustrations by Katherine Lam. 

Check out more free books from AARP Members Only Access.


Author Sarah Stewart Taylor

Photo by Sharona Jacobs


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Author Profile: Sarah Stewart Taylor 

Get to know the writer behind 'The Mountains Wild,' her thoughts on long-unanswered questions in her new series, and what she loves most about mysteries

Chapters 1 & 2

My mother singing. That’s one thing I remember. “Molly Malone,” “Red Is the Rose,” “Danny Boy.” She likes what she calls the “rebel songs,” songs that tell stories... Continue reading

Chapters 3 & 4

I was twenty-two that fall, a too-thin girl with shoulder-length brown hair that I always wore scraped back in a ponytail, working at the bar to help out Uncle Danny... Continue reading

Chapters 5 & 6

While I try to get the boxes back together, I think about giving Brian his stuff tonight, just to get it out of the basement. But his apartment doesn’t have much space and I'm about to ask... Continue reading


Chapters 7 & 8

I remember the long, whitewashed hotel from before. It’s close to the road, making its stand in the landscape. A few people are clustered around the door... Continue reading

Chapters 9 & 10

I met Roly Byrne for the first time at the Irishtown Garda Station. When we got back from Glenmalure, Emer and Daisy and I went straight to the station to report Erin missing... Continue reading

Chapters 11 & 12

The faces around the table blur and I take a deep breath, feeling my brain click into vigilance. This is my chance to get a sense of the investigation. If I am very careful, I may be able... Continue reading

Chapters 13 & 14

In the morning, I find myself a quiet table in the hotel’s dining room and spread out my notes and laptop and a piece of paper on which I’ve written “Erin.” When I first joined Suffolk County... Continue reading

Chapters 15 & 16

Niamh Horrigan’s parents have great faith in the Garda Síochána. That’s what they say on the news when the anchorwoman asks them if they believe the Gardaí are doing everything... Continue reading

Chapters 17 & 18

It was nine, still not quite raining but almost, the moisture hanging there in the air as though it was just waiting to be pushed over the edge. He had said, “Stop by the café.” Had he meant... Continue reading

Chapters 19 & 20

Whatever they found down in Wicklow has everyone excited. The news announcer doesn’t know what it is, but that doesn’t stop her from speculating. They’ve got shots of a cordoned-off area... Continue reading

Chapters 21 & 22

There was no listing in the Dublin phone book for a Hackman O’Hanrahan, but there was a listing for the IAI group, with an address on Fitzwilliam Place, not far from St. Stephen’s Green... Continue reading

Chapters 23 & 24

The Americans Erin had been talking to at the Raven were William and Gerald Murphy from Boston and they had charged their stay to a credit card belonging to a company called... Continue reading

Chapters 25 & 26

It’s eight a.m. before they can get all the files set up in the conference room at Pearse Street and get the necessary people to sign off on me looking at them. I down an espresso and Griz and I... Continue reading

Chapters 27 & 28

Griz and I are back at Pearse Street by seven a.m., ready to go. As soon as I see her, I know there’s been a development. “We got the ID,” she tells me first thing. “The remains are... Continue reading

Chapters 29 & 30

The morning after I was followed, I woke up to a note by the phone in Emer’s writing: Erin’s da rang. Talked to Detective Byrne. Ring him when you can. When I went out o the corner shop... Continue reading

Chapters 31 & 32

The morning after Conor walked out of the Gordon Street house, winter came for real. On Sandymount Strand, the cold air made little shells of ice on the rocks in the frigid mornings... Continue reading

Chapters 33 & 34

The wind is whipping dead leaves all around the park. Conor and I stand there just staring at each other for a moment and then he seems to remember the boy and he says, “Adrien, you take... Continue reading

Chapters 35 & 36

Conor and I stay in bed all morning, fortified by room service coffee and scones. We watch the news, our legs entangled under the covers. The newscasters remind viewers... Continue reading

Chapters 37 & 38

When I finally wake up, the sun is a bright knife through the gap in the curtains. I sit up for a minute. It’s eleven already. Monday. Niamh’s been gone for sixteen days... Continue reading

Chapters 39 & 40

Roly calls at seven. I’m still in bed, staring at the ceiling, and I jump up and scramble for the phone. “Roly? What is it? What did Wilcox say? Did you interview Conor?”... Continue reading

Chapters 41 & 42

Roly finds the address Joey gave him and calls ahead so Alice O’Murchú knows we’re coming. She lives near Roundwood, in a huge, old stone house that we find at the end... Continue reading

Chapters 43 & 44

Roly and I find a pub on the road back toward the coast. The fire is burning, it’s warm and welcoming inside, but the two of us just sit there dazed for a few minutes... Continue reading

Chapters 45 & 46

The cottage looks different now, the trees casting long shadows, the sound of our tires on the gravel driveway somehow louder. Roly has a flashlight and he gets it out... Continue reading

Chapters 47 & 48

Conor’s house is dark and quiet. He turns lights on and makes tea. He puts Miles Davis on and we lie on the couch with a blanket over us and drink tea and listen... Continue reading

Chapters 49 & 50

He comes all the way down the stairs and, without looking at me, he walks a tight loop around the basement, his hands behind him. I can’t see what he’s holding... Continue reading

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