erin hart
erin harterin hart
erin hartblog


Haunted Ground

A haunting debut combining forensics,
history, archaeology—and suspense...

Two farmers cutting turf in the west of Ireland make a grisly discovery—the perfectly preserved severed head of a beautiful young woman with long red hair. Called out to the bog to investigate, Irish archeologist Cormac Maguire and American pathologist Nora Gavin are thrown together by their shared curiosity about her fate.

Archaeologist Cormac Maguire is quickly called to the scene—"bog bodies" are always a remarkable find, sometimes centuries old but still close to their original condition. Cormac and Nora embark on a mission to determine the identity of the beautiful young woman and what led to her brutal fate.

But there are other mysteries buried within this small Irish town as well. Villagers are still suspicious of Hugh Osborne, a local landowner whose wife and young son disappeared abruptly two years ago without a trace. As Cormac and Nora dig into the background of the enigmatic redhead, policeman Garrett Devaney quietly reopens the Osborne case. As deeper layers of secrets are revealed in each mystery, sleeping dangers are awakened, and past deaths could translate into future murders.

Meticulously crafted, and resonating with traditional music and folklore, HAUNTED GROUND considers Ireland's turbulent history, revealing the eternal, subliminal connections between past and present.

Book Clubs

Readers Guide


Once Upon A Crime
Independent Mystery Booksellers
Barnes & Noble



Scribner, Paperback (February 2005), ISBN-13: 9780743272100



  • Friends of American Writers Award, 2004
  • Romantic Times, Best First Mystery 2003
  • ALA/Booklist, Top Ten Crime Novels of 2003
  • Book-of-the Month Club, Top Five Mysteries of 2003
  • Agatha Award Finalist, Best First Mystery 2003
  • Anthony Award Finalist, Best First Mystery 2003
  • Deady Pleasures Magazine, Best Mysteries of 2003
  • Mystery News, Best Mysteries of 2003
  • South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Best Mysteries of 2003

"Hart writes with a lovely eloquence about how character is shaped by the music, the architecture and the history of this harsh and beautiful land..."
   —Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review

"In addition to a complex, multilayered plot that involves both contemporary and historical crimes, Hart's novel is rich in local color: evenings at the pub, the petty feuds and jealousies of the townspeople and the traditional music and folk culture of Ireland are evocatively rendered."
   —Publishers Weekly

"Spooky and compelling... does for Galway what Sharyn McCrumb does for Appalachia."
   —Kirkus Reviews

"Hart breathes life into local history the way Graham Swift did in Waterland; reinvents the DuMaurier formula for Gothic suspense; and brings new texture and psychological acuity to the usual suspects from the generic village mystery. In every way, this is a debut to remember."
   —Booklist (Starred Review)

"The most auspicious mystery debut of the year, with a unique feeling for place and a depth of forensic details that chill."
   —Book-of-the-Month Club

"Not since P.D. James and Minette Walters have I been so excited about a mystery author. Erin Hart's HAUNTED GROUND is atmospheric, romantic, as rich in contemporary mayhem as it is in archeological history... Some authors write characters so well they don't have to bother with plot. Others do plot so well, their people are cardboard. Yet a third group knows all about forensics, and nothing of anything else. Erin Hart is the first author I've read in years who does it all, and does it all absolutely right. This is stunning in atmosphere and forensic detail, rich in history, and has characters whose longings are so palpable you feel them as your own."
   —Victoria Skurnick, Book-of-the-Month Club Editor

"Inspired by a true story, this is a riveting tale, which grips from the first page."
   —Publishing News (UK and Ireland)

"The mystical Irish countryside provides the perfect backdrop for this carefully crafted novel, where a hundred-of-years-old mystery collides with a contemporary crime. Enigmatic, well-developed characters cement this read into a beguiling, multifaceted mystery..."
   —Romantic Times Book Club Magazine

"The setting, the humanity of the characters, and the sympathetic portrayal of Irish history, landscape and music all come together in a well-written mystery."
   — Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"A chilling murder mystery that spans centuries... Masterfully weav[es] Irish folklore and traditional music into an eerie plot... Immensely enjoyable... a talented newcomer."
   —Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Impressive... HAUNTED GROUND is a mystery, but it's more correct to categorize it as a literary mystery since Hart takes plenty of time to explore her characters' inner lives."
   —Madison (WI) Capital Times

"Highly atmospheric... One of the best mystery debuts of 2003."
   —Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel

"A fine thriller... the brilliance is in the way Hart presents her story, which reeks of bogs and superstition and even thick, milky tea... HAUNTED GROUND deserves your attention."
   —Fort Worth Star-Telegram

"Remarkably assured and highly readable... Absorbing."
   —Denver Post

"...a riveting debut mystery. It is written with an intensity and fluidity that begs to be read slowly and savored because it is not just a grand story but because it is filled with interesting information about Celtic culture and folklore, Irish music and history."
   —Andrea Sisco, Armchair Interviews

"In HAUNTED GROUND, the past is not buried underground, it lives and breathes. Erin Hart's beguiling debut novel probes the mysterious connections between the dead and living in a moody Irish song of innocent blood, shattered hearts, and life's unquenchable flow."
   —Perri O'Shaughnessy, best-selling author of Writ of Execution

"Out of the Irish mist and into the ancient bogs, Erin Hart spins a dark tale of gothic suspense fused with modern forensics. This bright new talent lays bare all the buried bones, in a murderous tale of intrigue and betrayal."
   — Linda Fairstein, best-selling author of The Bone Vault