When I began this book, I was quite intrigued. After all, it is a Christian mystery. That is a genre I have never read. I grew up reading Erle Stanley Gardner and Agatha Christie where everyone jumped into bed with each other and used foul language right and left. How refreshing this book was in light of that!
First of all, the author is a fantastic writer who certainly knows how to develop believable characters and plots with intriguing twists and turns. I was drawn into the book from the very beginning--which is quite refreshing.
Furthermore, I absolutely loved that there were no bedroom scenes and no foul language! Yes! I could certainly handle reading more books like this. While the gospel was there, the reader did not feel as though he/she was being beat over the head with Christianity.
And finally, I pride myself in the fact that I partially solved the crime. I could follow the author's clues, and that really was exhilarating. Rarely could I ever solve an Agatha Christie or Perry Mason case, but I have a chance with Terri Blackstock. I certainly look forward to reading more of her books. It looks as though this is the first in the series, and it would be nice to read the sequel.
This book is fantastic!There are a host of characters represented in this book, but only five points of view. At first, I thought this would be confusing and make the story harder to follow. Boy, was I wrong. Terri Blackstock writes the book in a way that endears each character to you, while still following the same plot line. Morgan Cleary is kind-hearted, tender, and the complete opposite of her sister, Blair. She loves with her whole heart and wants to help everyone in need she meets. Blair Owens, who was burned in a bad fire as a child, carries around her hurt and pain like a shield. She doesn't let anyone get too close. Deep down, though, she is just as tender and emotional as her sister. Jonathan Cleary is Morgan's husband. He is strong and protective. He loves his wife and sometimes that clouds his judgement. Matthew Cade, aka Cade, is the chief of police in Cape Refuge. He works hard to prove he deserves his job, and it wasn't just given to him because he's the mayor's nephew. He also has a secret crush on Blair. Finally, Sadie is a scared, yet strong teenager. She yearns for someone to love and cherish her and she finds refuge at Hanover House.
After the murder of Wayne and Thelma Owens, the little town of Cape Refuge is thrown into disarray. Accusations start flying, people are on their guard, and the town struggles to find peace again. This book is full of mystery and suspense. The story kept me guessing until the very end. Terri Blackstock did a great job of not making the plot predictable. She also does a great job of keeping you engaged in the story. You mourn the loss of Wayne and Thelma with these characters. Their emotions are heart-wrenching and real. The anger, sadness, and the sense of fear, uncertainty, and loss hangs heavy on each character. Who could have done this? Why would God allow this to happen?
Each character faces a spiritual struggle as well. The most prominent one, in my opinion, was Blair's. I believe her struggle is the most important because she doesn't "believe" at all. In a conversation Blair is having with one of the other characters, he states everyone believes in something. By choosing not to believe in anything, you choose to believe in something. She struggles with the concept that even though God is sovereign and knows all things, He allows man to make his own choices. A lot of people struggle with this concept, and I applaud the author with how she handled it. It didn't feel forced. It felt natural. And I can't wait to see how Blair's struggle continues in the next book.
Overall, this mystery/suspense book was fantastic. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves this genre. I will definitely be reading the next three books in the Cape Refuge series: Southern Storm, River's Edge, and Breaker's Reef so look for those reviews!