Ten Plagues begins with Chicago PD detective Keren Collins following up a missing persons' report. Juanita Lopez hasn't been seen for a week, and Keren's visit to a condemned tenement building blows up in her face - literally. Keren has the Biblical gift of discernment, the supernatural ability to sense good and evil spirits, a gift which can be both a blessing and a curse. Her gift tells her that there is evil surrounding the burning building, but that the man going in to rescue a teenager is good. Then she finds that the man, Pastor Paul Morris of the Lighthouse Mission, is the man who, as a cop, sent her career spinning backwards, and she is suspicious and resentful towards him.
Paul spend years as a hard-bitten cop, but a personal tragedy forced him to re-evaluate his life, and he now runs a soup kitchen and homeless shelter in inner-city Chicago. He is pulled into the investigation because of his seminary-taught Latin, the language used by the kidnapper to deliver his hand-carved plaques. At the same time, he becomes a potential suspect when it is discovered that both of the victims were regular visitors to the homeless shelter. To complicate matters, Paul is immediately attracted to Keren, but she seems to have an inexplicable aversion to him. Why?
As the case progresses, Keren and Paul learn to work together to solve a series of crimes that seem to be patterned after the ten plagues of Egypt. They also have their own personal issues to work through as their mutual attraction grows, including their joint history, Keren's gift and the reason behind Paul's change of life. I enjoyed Ten Plagues. I thought the characters were strong, the story was well-plotted, and there was an interesting mystery to solve along with some nail-biting suspense and enough romance to lighten the mood.
Ten Plagues is the first novel from Mary Nealy, the romantic suspense pen-name of award-winning Mary Connealy, who has been a Christy Award and RITA Award finalist for her Ã¢â¬ËRomantic Comedy with Cowboys' novels. This is not a novel for the faint-hearted (although those who like Tim Downs will probably find this somewhat tame_), but I enjoyed this new voice in romantic suspense, and I will certainly watch out for more of Nealy's novels.
Thanks to NetGalley and Barbour Publishing for providing a free ebook to review.
Detective Keren Collins is investigating the disappearance of a missing woman when a building explodes, starting a cascade of evil acts. She and her partner, O'Shea, end up joining forces with a cop-turned-pastor Paul Morris, to hunt down a demon-possessed killer. Keren must use her spiritual discernment combined with her investigative skills to help catch the killer before it is too late.
Mary Nealy has crafted an interesting plot with her concept of a killer who follows the Biblical ten plagues to unleash evil on the city of Chicago. I think that the scenes written from the killer's perspective were very well done and he is a fascinating character. However, many of the scenes between Keren and Paul seemed a bit jeuvanile and unrealistic, and I got frustrated with the wild swings in their relationship from utter dislike one moment to attraction the next. Although I tried hard to like Keren as a character, and did admire her grit and determination to see justice accomplished, she left a sour taste in my mouth. I hope that in reality a professional would not act like Keren does. She appeared quite angry in many scenes, possessing a very ungodly attitude when she is supposed to be a strong, discerning Christian. In my opinion, the plot itself was strong, but the characterization made the book less enjoyable for me.
Unfortunately, I can only give this book a mild recommendation of 3 out of 5 stars.
This review is based on an electronic copy provided by the publisher via netgalley for the purpose of completing this review.