Screaming through a mouth she couldn't open, Lauren Bayliss clutched her torn blouse and lurched down the windswept sidewalk. So begins Taste of Lukewarm, a Christian mystery novel. Clearly resourceful in this genre, P.J. Muender has constructed a hard-to-put-down tale of life, pain, healing, family, and unity in the Christian body of believers. Written with an authoritative voice and keen insight, this book will leave the reader, in turn, laughing, weeping, tense, amused, and crying out in joyous exultation. Despite a brutal attack that claims one of her eyes, Lauren, along with her husband, Dan, seems to find happiness when they relocate to Sanfield, Illinois. She starts going to church, and Dan's new business is off to a promising start. Lauren's interest in the teachings of Scripture increase, and she forges valuable friendships. Dan, however, falls under the spell of successful businessman Tref Carrolton, and becomes focused on the trappings of success and conspicuous consumption. Short but powerful interludes, dark and often difficult to read, give the reader disturbing glimpses into the mind and actions of Lauren's attacker, a man-or, as Lauren wonders, could it have been a woman?-who police seem powerless to apprehend. Anxieties and stresses mount as Lauren and Dan begin to clash over the most natural conflict of professional couples: finances. Will their relationship heal, weaken, or become stronger? Supported by a cast of characters whose personalities run the gamut from exuberant to morose, humorous to downright odd, this well-crafted tale keeps pages turning right from the start. Taste of Lukewarm is an entirely plausible story of courage in the face of uncertainty, of conflicting loyalties, and of triumph through Christ. At its core, it is the story of what it is to be alive on the planet, and of discovering the one and only source of meaningful answers.
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