A Pilgrimage to Death

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Sidecar Press, LLC, Aug 14, 2018 - Fiction - 260 pages

Named to Kirkus Reviews' Best Books of 2018 and 2019 National Indie Excellence Awards winner.

When Cici discovers a body in the forest, she’s shocked to realize the victim’s wounds are identical to the ones that killed her sister a year ago. Now she’s embroiled in the takedown of a massive criminal operation, and the stakes couldn’t be higher…

Someone murdered her sister. And shot her dog. The killer won't stop until she's dead, too.

Cici finds a dead body while hiking in the Santa Fe National Forest. The situation deteriorates when she discovers the victim bears similar stab wounds to those that ended her twin sister's life a year ago.

Then, her identical twin sister infiltrates her dreams. 

All of a sudden, Cici and her dogs must dodge arrows, bullets, and even a demon truck—all while she grapples with the knowledge that her sister was on the trail of a deep-rooted criminal operation. Worse, her twin's death was much more sinister than a random act of violence.

Now, as she follows the clues her sister drops in her dreams, the criminals want Cici out of the way. Permanently.

A Pilgrimage to Death is a high-octane thriller. Fans of Ruth Ware, J.D. Robb, and Angela Marsons will love J. J. Cagney's new edge-of-your-seat novel.


“A wholly absorbing gumshoe tale elevated by an extraordinary detective.”(Kirkus Reviews starred review)

"Vivid, alluring, and heart-wrenching, Alexa Padgett's A Pilgrimage to Death is every reason I love mystery. A breathtaking tale."—Darynda Jones, NY Times Bestselling Author

"A Pilgrimage to Death was an edge-of-my-seat thrill ride that kept me guessing all the way through. Alexa Padgett weaves an intricate and enthralling tale, with relationships that run deep, and mystery that does the same."—Allyson Lindt, USA Bestseller

"A Pilgrimage to Death is a phenomenal read from the moment you open the book on the first page to the very last page." —Jeanine, Bookbub Review

"This is an edge-of-your-seat thriller with a great storyline and multidimensional characters." —Suecolerick, Bookbub Review

"A Pilgrimage to Death is filled with a lot of unexpected twists."—Energy, Bookbub Review

"If you like Murder She Wrote and Agatha Christie, you will love this." —Lisa, Goodreads Review

"This is a must-read book, and I give it five stars." —Angela Sanders, Author of Never Again

"There are many suspects, few leads and several tense moments when Cici becomes targeted by the unknown killer."—Sheila, Goodreads Review


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User Review  - RobynReo - www.librarything.com

Cecilia Gurule, CiCi to most, returns home to Santa Fe upon quitting as the associate reverend from a large, wealthy church outside Boston after her sister, Anna Carmen’s murder over a year ago. She ... Read full review

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Reviewed by Susan Sewell for Readers' Favorite
There are no leads in the murder of a well-liked Santa Fe school teacher and the killer still roams free to kill again in the suspenseful murder
mystery, A Pilgrimage to Death (A Reverend Cici Gurule Mystery Book 1) by Alexa Padgett. Since Reverend Cici Gurule's identical twin sister, Anna Carmen, was murdered a little over a year ago, Cici left her position in a Boston church and took charge of a parish in her hometown of Santa Fe. Attempting to move past Anna Carmen's death, Cici has been trying to lead a normal life by living one day at a time. Hiking in the nearby forest is one of the ways she uses to cope with her pain. While climbing the trail, Cici is surprised to feel Anna Carmen's presence. The surprise immediately turns to shock with the subsequent discovery of a corpse. The condition of the man's body is reminiscent of Anna Carmen's untimely demise. With the occurrence of this new homicide, Cici now finds herself in the middle of a dangerous conspiracy that has ties to her twin. Without any clues as to why Anna Carmen was killed, the reason for her death remains a mystery. What had Anna Carmen been doing that reaches beyond the grave and endangers those she left behind?
The "voice" of the dead, guiding the heroine in her search for the truth, is an intriguing paranormal aspect of the brilliant sleuth murder mystery, A Pilgrimage to Death by Alexa Padgett. I love a good murder mystery, especially if the protagonist is a little bit different. With Cici being a motorcycle-riding, beer-drinking reverend who has medium-like connections with her twin, this whodunit definitely fits the criteria for being unique. It is a thrilling cozy mystery filled with drama, suspense, and murder; all of which held me spellbound until the exciting finale. There is enough action, blood, and death in this "unputdownable" book to satisfy die-hard mystery fans without being offensive to those of a more sensitive nature. A Pilgrimage to Death is an enticing springboard for a spectacular sleuth series. I highly recommend it to those who love unusual amateur detectives with a "never-give-up" attitude and a little far-fetched help from the Otherside.

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About the author (2018)

J. J. Cagney is the mystery/thriller pen name of USA Today bestselling author Alexa Padgett. Her debut mystery, A Pilgrimage of Death, was named to Kirkus Reviews’ 100 Best Books of 2018 and Goodreads Best Mysteries of the 2010s. 

Cagney holds a bachelor’s in international marketing and spent part of her twenties as the marketing director for an elite sports management firm. And, yes, she did her requisite stint with a dotcom back in the that early 2000s, first as a marketing coordinator and then as a content manager. She’s penned work for a variety of websites and magazines, and she worked as a literary agent for Irene Webb Literary. 

She lives in northern New Mexico with her husband, children, about a million fish, and their Great Pyrenees, Ash. Kirkus Reviews called Cagney’s latest mystery, An Artifact of Death, “An exhilarating entry in a thoroughly enjoyable series.”