Sandra Orchard is a new friend. I met her recently at a Christian writers conference and I enjoyed talking with her. In our conversations, I said I would do a blog book review for her. I'd read another one or two of Sandra's books before I'd even met her. For one day, Sandra offered Deadly Devotion for free on kindle. I snatched it up and had a wonderful read. Deadly Devotion is one of Sandra's most recent, although there is a sequel out, called Blind Trust.
I won't give you a long plot summary, but there were wonderful surprises and great elements to it. I really liked it, and I don't say so if I don't.
I liked the research Sandra did on natural chemistry and herbs. She also explains it in the back of the book. My husband works in a natural food store, making this more interesting to me. In a world where many times modern medicine fails us, it's good to know that alternatives are also being researched.
Kate has issues with police, stemming from her father's arrest. She finds herself being drawn to Detective Parker who seems to help her out of trouble on many occasions. She loves his family, and Tom enlists his father to help Kate in her investigations.
The police think Daisy killed herself, even if it was accidental, so they close the case. Kate doesn't believe it. Running on pure emotion, Kate not only confronts a handsome police detective, Tom Parker, about the hasty investigation, but she also decides to investigate on her own. Of course that leads her into a lot of mishaps and some serious trouble, not only with the law, but eventually the killer.
Detective Tom Parker moved home to Canada after being with the FBI in the U.S. He feels guilty about an FBI case gone awry, plus his father is stuck in his grief over Tom's mother's death. Tom also has problems on the job front, not just from Kate, but his boss is putting pressure on him to "obey." There's history there, and I won't spoil it for you.
Daisy was a wonderful Christian woman. We really didn't get to meet her, but we got to know her through Kate's memories of her. Daisy's faith impacted Kate. It takes Kate a while to come to her own faith. What I liked is that Tom's father and Kate worked together. It brought Tom's father out of his depression, and it gave Kate a chance to see what it would be like to be part of a loving family.
I understood Kate, because she's a woman who wants to think logically, but her actions are clouded by her emotions. Emotions make us more empathetic to her character, even though we know she's going to get herself in trouble for her pig-headedness.
What I look for in suspense and mystery is characters, action, and plot twists. They're all here. And knowing a little bit about Sandra now, and having read a couple of her Love Inspired books, I know a little bit about the work she put into this. Grant it, this is the first book in the series, so not every detail will be resolved except for the main mystery of who killed Daisy and why.
For those reader/reviewers who are not writers, they probably have no idea of the work that goes into writing a novel. The author drafts it, beta readers read it, editors edit it, the author revises it (numerous times) and finally it gets published. Even this is an oversimplification of the process.
I'd give this book 4-1/2 stars. I liked it. I really did.
Deadly Devotion is a terrific mystery novel. From the beginning to the end, this book captured my attention with mystery, romance and humor. There were some surprises in the novel and the author was great at showing this was also a Christian novel. I love the characters with their unique personalities. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Deadly Devotion and highly recommend this book. I'm looking forward to Sandra Orchard's next novel.
Kate Adams had become close friends with her mentor, Daisy Leacock, as they worked together in a research laboratory testing herbs as possible medicinal treatments. They were close to a breakthrough in a treatment for depression when Daisy was discovered dead. An investigation ensued, but with no evidence to indicate foul play aside from a cup of tea, the case was closed and Daisy's death was ruled a suicide. Kate knew her friend's strong spiritual beliefs and refused to believe that her mentor's death was self inflicted. Approaching Detective Tom Parker with her suspicions Kate insisted that she would find the truth surrounding Daisy's death. Several suspects had motives to want Daisy dead, and Kate insisted on investigating on her own to clear Daisy's name and prove she was murdered. Much to Detective Parker's dismay, Kate's insistence on following her instincts placed her in a number of dangerous situations. Parker's job was on the line because of the time he spent keeping Kate out of trouble. Kate's motives were also questioned as developments revealed themselves.
Sandra Orchard has written a compelling murder investigation that kept me on the edge of my seat and up into the wee hours of the morning! The suspense in this novel was ceaseless, and the questions regarding each of the suspects were endless! Characters in this fast-paced book are well defined and varied, some suspicious, others colorful, but all individuals of interest. The author creates settings that are detailed and descriptive, creating atmospheres of suspense in themselves. Underlying spiritual concerns were blended throughout this book, including faith and forgiveness. I thoroughly enjoyed this suspense-filled novel, and look forward to reading more books by this talented author.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions expressed are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.
I haven't read a cozy mystery this good in ages. There is action on nearly every page. And there are so many suspects, people with motive and means and opportunity, well over half way through the book I still had no idea who the killer might be. And Sandra does a great job of shifting the suspicion from one character to another as the story progresses.
Kate is a research scientist studying herbal cures. When her mentoring colleague and good friend Daisy dies, Kate is heartbroken. When the police rule the death suicide, either deliberate or accidental, Kate is angry. She knows Daisy would never deliberately take her own life nor would she, an expert in herbs, mistakenly drink a toxic mixture of herbal tea.
While the local police department turns a deaf ear to Kate's demands for an investigation, one detective takes an interest in Kate. Tom is an ex-FBI agent, back in Canada. He watches over Kate as she tries to find out who killed her friend. Tom finds out his interest in Kate is serious when it looks like the killer is now after her.
This is a great mystery where people are rarely what they seem. And it is a good romance too. Kate and Tom struggle with their relationship as Tom tries to remain loyal to his police role while protecting Kate too.
The Christianity of the characters is well presented. Daisy mentored Kate in her faith so Daisy's death was a spiritual shock as well as an emotional one. Kate relies on her growing faith, however, as she pursues the truth.
Several of the characters either research or grow herbs, so we learn a great deal about them, especially in their use for teas. A great mystery and romance and you learn about herbs too.
The end left me a little frustrated but a sequel is in the works. I'll be looking for it.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher fort he purpose of this review.