Wow. What an engrossing read. From the suspense to the romance to the characterization -- Carter has created a memorable novel that I couldn't put down. My parched flowers will testify to that. Scorching heat and not a drop of water since I was inside devouring this book. Oops. Sorry garden. But not really because I enjoyed every scrumptious minute shared with Alison and Mike.
An unusual romantic suspense because the timeline covers nearly a year. So this isn't a frantic rush kind of a read. There are still high action moments and plenty of danger lurking in the wings but there's also the essence of a good mystery. Carefully plotted out, leads are scrupulously followed not only by Detective Mike but by the intrepid Alison who might have watched a few too many crime shows on TV. Intricate details present a selection of prime suspects. I found it hard to put the pieces together as Carter expertly revealed clues by slow degrees. What exquisite torture!
But when it comes right down to it, relationship is at the heart of this story. Characters faced with a reckoning of sorts -- with each other and most importantly, with God. I love the way those deep connections balance the suspense. Raw and real and totally believable. From the dynamics in Alison's grieving family to Mike's battles with his past. Their slide from friendship to romance isn't easy but, oh my goodness, is it worth it!
This is the kind of novel you lose yourself in and when you reach the end you are reluctant to let go of characters that have somehow wrapped themselves around your heart.
The book started out good then it just started dragging for a while. What really bothered me is Mike Barefoot getting involved with a possible suspect. He thought Allison had murdered her husband and then all of a sudden he's sitting at the table having a meal with them and coming over everyday. They are getting serious real fast. Does that really happen? I got tired of hearing about her flip flops and Claire cooking the meals all the time. Didn't the mom know how to cook? I couldn't figure out who was doing the murdering? I made myself keep reading to find out. That's not who I thought it would be. There were some editing problems.
I love a book where I cannot guess the outcome right away.
This book keeps you in suspense until the very end. I loved reading about the places in the book where the characters visited. Since I am from the area, I could just see the whole picture unfolding in my mind. Such a great, comfortable and easy read.
Carolina Reckoning is the debut novel by suspense writer Lisa Carter. It tells the tale what happens when a wife discovers proof of her husband's infidelity, only to have him die before she's able to confront him. When police discover Frank was fatally shot in his car, Alison automatically becomes the main suspect. There's little evidence with which to charge or exonerate her. Actually, there's very little evidence at all at first. Frank's briefcase and smartphone are both missing. Frank's death leaves Alison and her teenage children with nothing but questions and debt. Six months later, Frank's murder has become a cold case. Alison takes a job at Weathersby Historic Park, where it becomes immediately apparent that none of the directors can stand each other. Her daughter, Claire, is being bullied by members of her former social set. And the investigating detective has become a regular visitor at the family's home.
There are two plots in Carolina Reckoning: the murder and the romance between Alison and Mike. By far, I preferred the murder mystery. More than once I thought I knew who the suspect was, only to be proven wrong. Who wanted Frank dead? Who shot at Alison using the same weapon that was used to kill her husband? The motive, when finally revealed, felt a bit confusing but these things are never straightforward. There are also a couple of red herrings thrown in for good measure. In contrast, the romantic element felt weak. I was surprised that an investigator would so easily cross the line from professional to personal in such a short time. Alison, despite being described as an â€˜abused' wife, also seems willing to quickly jump into another relationship and doesn't appear to have any concerns that Mike might turn out to be another Frank. The Christian theme of forgiveness runs throughout the book, as Alison goes through the process of forgiving Frank for his actions toward her while he lived. I particularly appreciated that she made a commitment to God early in the book, instead of it happening toward the end and just before the big reveal as is often seen in Christian fiction.
Thank you to Abingdon Press for my free copy of Carolina Reckoning, which I received in exchange for an honest review.
Mike Barefoot is a homicide detective in Raleigh, North Carolina. He has been assigned the Monaghan case. Frank Monaghan has been found shot in the head in his car just a few miles from home. Mike's first meeting with Frank's widow, Alison Monaghan, is when she is told for the first time about her husband's murder. He soon begins to rely on the God his granny had taught him about and surrenders his life to Him. As his investigation gets underway, he becomes more and more convinced that Alison did not murder her husband. He spends more time with her and begins discussing the case and soon they have formed a loose partnership to find the killer. Mike grows to love Alison and her two teenage children. However, after months pass, the killer still has not been caught and soon strikes again.
Alison Monaghan has known deep inside that her husband has been unfaithful to her many times, but now she has proof. Then, the police show up and tell her he's dead. Now what is she to do? Her husband used to take care of everything and now, after reading his will, she discovers their finances are a mess. She needs a job, so she goes to work at a local historical site where she used to volunteer. She is incredibly angry and hurt at her husband's infidelity, but still feels no one had the right to kill him. She vows to discover his killer. As her search begins, she realizes she can't keep doing life on her own and gives her life to the God of her best friend. She begins reading through the Bible, attending church and praying. She finds a peace she has never known before. She finds love with Mike. She also finds out who killed her husband.
I really enjoyed the plot and the mystery had plenty of twists and turns to hold my interest. One thing I didn't like was the two main characters almost simultaneously giving their lives to God. I thought the chances very unrealistic to happen in this manner. I read a lot of Christian fiction and am thankful for the Christian themes in this story, just not the timing of the conversions. I did like the relationship between Mike and Alison's children and his interest in their lives. I also liked the conflict between the two males interested in gaining Alison's affections. I am looking forward to more mysteries from this author and hope readers will take the time to take part in this mystery.