The Stills (The Kinship Series Book 3)

Written by Jess Montgomery
Review by K. M. Sandrick

Prohibition in and around the eastern Ohio town of Kinship finds Fiona Vogel looking for ways to get out from under the emotional and economic thumb of her husband, prominent bootlegger George. Meanwhile, Sheriff Lily Ross investigates the shooting and disappearance of a federal revenue agent, threats that jugs of moonshine have been tainted with lethal methanol, and the beating and murder of her dead husband’s brother and all-around villain Luther.

The Stills is third in the Kinship series, which is based on the true story of Ohio’s first female sheriff, and author Montgomery deserves praise for her depictions of strong female characters. Chapters alternate in perspective between Fiona and Lily and provide contrasts in the use of power: George’s physical and psychological dominance, Fiona’s scheming, Lily’s operations within the confines of the law, others’ movements outside it.

The action takes place over the course of a few days around Thanksgiving in 1927. Some aspects of plot unfold too quickly; others stall, are repetitious, or somewhat implausible.

As Montgomery explains, Prohibition was a backdrop for the first two Kinship novels. The policy and many of its ramifications take center stage in The Stills, providing readers with facts and nuances related to Prohibition’s effect on law enforcement and everyday lives in a small rural community.