Bones Along The Hill

A decade-old mystery, a power-mad enemy and his human-trafficking

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Book Summary

Bones Along The Hill

A decade-old mystery, a power-mad enemy and his human-trafficking ring stand in the way of the hopes and dreams of funeral home facial restorationist Neva Oakley.

Neva Oakley is a funeral facial restorationist with a legendary skill at making the dead look alive. But for all her talent, she can never bring back Gray Ledbetter, her first love,who took his own life ten years ago.

Davis Pratt, too, is consumed. Long ago his younger brother disappeared, and Davis won’t give up hope. Perhaps that’s why he and Neva are sucha good couple. Or perhaps that’s why they can’t move forward. Then the search leads them to the Oakley cemetery and a murder tied to a human trafficking ring. Suddenly, impossible crimes threaten both family and friends, crimes that cannot be ignored. Not even the Nashville PD can keep Neva safe, but if she and Davis succeed, together they just might solve all their mysteries and free each other to embrace their future.

What readers say about the book🧐

I am so impressed - I have been torn between reading "Bones Along the Hill" voraciously while wanting to spin it out. I appreciate the relationships between such genuine characters and the plausible setting. I love the unexpected twists and turns. Most of all I am grateful that Nancy Sartor has chosen to expose the evils of human trafficking in such a moving way. Thank you for this novel - I trust Nancy Sartor will give us many more such high calibre books.

Lorraine Jacobs

(Amazon Review)
About the Author

Nancy Sartor

Daphne Award Winning Author!! I was born in Nashville, Tennessee, to an Irish woman who believed in fairies and angels and God and the inherent goodness of man. When I was small, she wrote a fairy tale named Nogard (the inverse of Dragon). She read it chapter-by-chapter to each of her three children when we were old enough to understand it. Of all the books she read me, I remember that one, its characters, its story as clearly as if it were yesterday.

Like my mother, I was and am an avid reader. I read “The Bobbsey Twins”, “Nancy Drew”, “Cherry Ames, Nurse”, all the stuff a young reader should have until I obtained my own library card. Then, I discovered Frank Yerby’s “The Foxes of Harrow”, and decided I’d had enough of sweet young women who did all the right things. In my teen years, I was directed toward John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, but not William Faulkner, whose prose is so dense I still can’t enjoy his writing. When I discovered “Peyton Place” on my own, my mother stopped worrying about what I was reading.

I tried my hand at writing in junior high school, sickeningly sweet, melodramatic fluff. It’s a testament to the poor quality of young writing that I was chosen as a finalist in a contest. Being a finalist gained me an afternoon at Belmont College with my teacher, a cup of tea, a few cookies, and encouraging words from those who’d read my little offering. I did not win the contest.

I became a wife and then a mother and had no time to breathe, let alone write. My marriage fell apart, leaving me to raise my children alone with even less time, but in my spare moments, I jotted down a story line here and a snippet there. I escaped my life in books and dreamed of better days.

When my children were nearly grown, I met another man, as different from my children’s father as could possibly be. Not only was he brilliant, he was attempting to make his living writing classical music. I had heard classical, liked it well enough, really preferred Opera and rock and roll, but in the presence of this musician who lived, breathed and ate classical, I learned to appreciate its depth, the way it twisted themes through labyrinths and then brought them back in the end to triumph and save the day. The way I wanted my themes to do.

He wondered why I’d never written a novel.

I’d never written a novel because I’d never had time to write a novel and besides who would publish my novel? As our relationship deepened and he continued to write music most people didn’t understand and sell it, earn awards and be featured in such places as Carnegie Hall, Tanglewood, and the National Cathedral, a spark ignited within me. If he could be this successful in classical music, maybe I could write a novel.

And so I did. Ronald Reagan had just taken America from the great malaise back to national pride. I was convinced the nation would turn back to its rot if something happened to Reagan and with that as my kernel, I concocted a story about an American president who had a stroke, but was so important to the nation, he could not be allowed to die and so a look-alike was brought in to act out the role of president. Without the slightest knowledge of how to write a novel, I wrote one and grabbed an agent my first time out. The book didn’t sell, but you may have seen the movie. It’s called “Dave.” In many respects, it is almost identical to the story I wrote. Perhaps great ideas run in pairs.

By this time, my new love interest was my new husband, who spent long hours in his study writing music, so it was logical I spend long hours in my study writing books. The Internet provided us both with an amazing tool to educate ourselves and waste time. The General Electric Network for Information Exchange, an Internet service for GE employees, opened itself to the public at six pm EST every day. It was called GENIE and almost immediately, some geek created Aladdin, the software that made GENIE wonderfully accessible. I lucked into a group of extremely talented writers and together we formed Word Spinners, Ink., dubbed Inkies, the first Internet-based writers group in America as far as we can tell. In our own little corner of GENIE, we wrote, exchanged reviews, exhorted one another, interviewed agents and editors and generally learned how to do this thing we all loved.

I wrote another novel and marketed it, garnered many good comments, among them, “Gee, I wish I hadn’t just published one like this. This one is really good.” That’ll break your little writer heart for sure.

All in all, I wrote six novels before Neva, the POV character in BONES ALONG THE HILL, came to me in the dead of the night with a whisper, “Hi. My name is Neva, and I fix the faces of the dead.”

By this time, I was a passable writer, but writing morphs almost faster than the moral compasses teenagers use, and “deep POV” was then the rage. Turned out deep POV wasn’t my long suit. In fact, deep POV was damned difficult for me. I could get close. I could swoop into secondary characters far enough to know what toenail clippers they used, but not so with Neva. I wrote, rewrote, plotted, re-plotted. My writing partners read, re-read, offered great comments. My husband finally suggested in frustration that I drop this novel and write another.

But I’d written six and dropped them when they would not sell or put them on the shelf un-marketed. I knew I had to make stand and this was where to make it. If I died unpublished, well, God has His plans.

I hired an editor, who returned to me the cruellest review I’ve ever read, so mean, in fact, I sat for hours after my first read and stared at the wall. But throughout, she’d also admitted my writing was so very good, she could envision an acquisitions editor grieving because the story was not good enough to publish. When my gag reflex settled down, I went back and read Bones again, discovered I agreed with a good bit of what she’d said.

Meanwhile, to her credit, she apologized for her tone and the meanness and asked for another chance. I shared I was rewriting based on her comments. She agreed to edit it again for free once it was rewritten. In time, I sent her the rewritten novel, not just rewritten, but re-imagined. She loved it.

I thought I might have it at long last, but as I sent it out, it again garnered rejections. A good many came with invitations to submit other works, but nobody wanted to represent it or publish it.

In the winter of 2014, I sent it to two small publishers. Three months later, one of them sent me a request for the remainder of the novel, saying they were “intrigued.” I sent the material and felt good about my chances. I had still not heard from the other little guy, so I waited 30 days and then asked for an update. The editor would be in touch soon, they said. I figured that meant she just hadn’t gotten around to writing the rejection email.

In June, I got two emails. The first from the publisher who’d been “intrigued,” saying they were passing and the second from the incomparable Camille Hahn saying she loved my book and would I let them publish it.

I allowed as how I thought that would be a good idea, and Bones was on its way.

Today, I am an award-winning author. My Blessed Curse, my third novel won the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence for paranormal novels in 2018. All my novels have garnered many amazingly positive reviews. I even have ISBNs, proof positive that I can write well enough to sell books. I am in some ways fulfilled.

I am writing another suspense set in our time, giving me an amazing swath of material to use. It’s political. It’s tension-filled. It will, I hope, make you angry, make you cry and above all, make you think. I have three novels in print and yet once again I am beset by the niggling worry that while I managed to write one good book, I probably can’t do it again.

That’s how it works with us writer types.

Are you ready to read it now?

A decade-old mystery, a power-mad enemy and his human-trafficking

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