Death in the Shadows By Paul McCusker

Father Gilbert finds himself involved in another murder mystery. Given his background as a policeman before becoming a priest, it seems quite natural. The priest travels to a religious meeting in another town. While eating his breakfast the next morning he opens the newspaper and reads of a local prostitute found dead. Before his meal is over he sees the spirit of the female victim floating in front of him. This spurs him on to solve the crime, leading him into many evil and dangerous places.
I applaud the author for addressing the social problem of sex trafficking. He does a wonderful job of tackling the problem without being graphic or coarse. It is a horrible reality of our times that most know little about. Mr. McCusker is a skilled mystery writer and can definitely keep your attention.
I was disappointed in the book because of the strong demonic, supernatural, thread that ran throughout. I found the book to be very disturbing. I definitely do not think it can qualify as Christian reading material.
I received a copy of this book from Kregel publications in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have stated are my own.

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The Cover Story By Deb Richardson-Moore

I so enjoyed Ms. Richardson-Moore’s first book, The Cantaloupe Thief, that I was excited to see another in this series! Branigan Powers is a journalist for a small town newspaper. Her intelligence, eye for detail, and being able to think outside the box once again finds her being more than just a reporter and working with the police on a murder investigation.
It is the Christmas holiday and a niece and a friend are returning home from college. Suddenly a mysterious vintage hearse appears, forcing them off the road and taking the life of the other girl and injuring her niece. Clues begin to appear, leading her to the possible involvement of the local sororities. While this is a beginning Branigan quickly finds the evidence brings more questions than answers! At several points I felt if I could speak to her I would be able to direct her to the murderer, and then the story would veer off in an unexpected direction ending my theory! I love all the surprises!
I liked the homeless man Malachi Martin being included in this book also. He can hear things and go places Ms. Powers cannot, always aiding her search for answers. Yes he has issues but he had a good heart and character. As with her previous book the homeless are a part of the story. It really opens your heart and eyes to their plight and all they deal with we know nothing about.
I appreciate the book deals with crime but without the graphic detail. One disappointment did arise for me with this book. Throughout different parts of the book there were curse words. Even the pastor cursed! Since I assumed this was a Christian mystery, I was a bit shocked. The author is a talented, entertaining writer that does not need to rely on this type of language to enhance or story. Without this the book would have been perfect!
I received a copy of this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have stated are my own.

Murder on the Moor by Julianna Deering

I enjoy nothing more than a good clean mystery. Ms. Deering certainly delivered! I can’t wait to read more of her books this was my first! The married amateur detective duo of Drew and Madeline brought to mind the old classic movies of Nick and Nora, whose films were made in the 1930’s, the same era as the book’s setting.
The couple is called to an old school chums estate in the English Moors to help him solve 2 murders that there could possibly be no motive; the vicar and a poor elderly woman. Also because his bride of less than a year has been hearing things and feels she is being followed
His friend Beaky Bloodworth would be what you would call a geek or a nerd during their school days, the victim of constant bullying. Not only has Beaky done quite well for himself but is married to an absolutely beautiful woman, so much so her reasons for marrying look suspicious. Not to mention her attitude toward her husband, Definitely not that of a gushing newlywed.
The author’s descriptiveness of the characters, their personality and physical characteristics were so fantastic, I felt I had a snap shot of them in hand. Beaky’s name gave me a chuckle as it fit his thin, hawkish appearance. She beautifully captured the interactions between the individuals on all levels. I loved Drew and Madeline’s sweet and loving relationship. Not gushy but as a good, caring marriage would be. It didn’t stop there she painted a word picture of the homes, stores, pub, and especially the moors. I found the latter quite depressing, and gloomy. A perfect location for solving a crime!
The book kept me on edge. Lots of surprises. Every time I thought I had the murderer cornered in my mind another person would appear equally as guilty! It wasn’t until the very end the criminal is revealed and I wasn’t right on any counts! What a surprise! Just the way I like a whodunit! A book you will want to read!
I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I state are my own.

Naomi’s Hope by Jan Drexler

Naomi Schrock and her family decided to move west to Pleasant Plain. It is the 1840’s so wagons are the mode of transportation; difficult and with danger always lurking around the bend. On their journey they came across a horrendous scene. A family’s home had been utterly destroyed and the only survivor was a small boy, Davey. The family took him in and their daughter Naomi adopted him as her own. In this book they have arrived at their destination and have been there 3 years. At seven years of age Davey is a lively, high spirited boy that gives Naomi a run for her money!
The new Amish settlement is prospering and many other families are coming to make it their home also. One of those people was a widower Cap Stolzfus. Still grieving over the loss of his wife and baby he is resolved to make a fresh start. His farm is beside Naomi’s parents. Davey meets Cap in one of times of exploration and they become fast friends. The young boy longing for a Dad and family decides to make believe Cap his father. As little ones will, he brings Naomi, her family, and Cap together as they become dear friends. Romance begins to blossom but both have doubts and concerns, not to mention their disagreement in how Davey should be raised.
An old acquaintance of Cap’s arrives at the settlement wanting to become a second minister. He presents himself as a man of the cloth, but is a sheep in wolves clothing. Cap knows Shem Fischer will be trouble and that is exactly what he brings to the peaceful community, especially Naomi.
The book is very exciting and fast paced. Not your usual Amish novel with mild conflicts and struggles. I liked that it shows a different side of the Amish life especially during that era. Davey’s antics and escapades were spot for a rambunctious boy that age. My heart went out to Naomi for trying to deal with his nonstop mischief. I liked it that the author fleshed out many characters with their own outlooks and experiences, but it was not hard to keep them straight. It added to the realism and entertainment of the story. I appreciated the fact that the characters lived out their faith and biblical principles no matter what hardships or problems they faced. A read alone book from the 1st two in the trilogy, but you definitely want to read the others!
I received this book from Revell Publications in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I stated are my own.
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Freedom’s Price By Christine Johnson

Imagine you are 23 years old, your mother has died and now your father. In the 1850’s there are not many options for you to support yourself, other than a life of drudgery or a marriage of convenience. This is what Catherine Haynes was facing. Neither had she wanted. With great courage and faith in God, she leaves her home in England and faces a difficult journey to America. There in Louisiana she plans to find her mother’s family and the plantation where she once lived. Even though they do not even know of her existence she hopes to claim her inheritance in the Black Oak Plantation. As if overwhelming grief and loss of all she held dear were not enough she finds herself shipwrecked. In this tragic situation, sailor Tom Worthington enters her life. Although their relationship mixes as well as oil and water, he becomes an important part of her life.
Upon her arrival she finds the plantation her mother shared such love of in a horrible state of deterioration and neglect. To make matters worse, it has fallen under the management of an evil, dishonest man and the family she hoped for is gone. She is appalled at the cruel and inhuman treatment of the slaves. This was Pre-Civil War era so her ideas of equality for all men were very foreign at that time. Catherine soon finds herself thrown in to danger and mystery.
This was a hard book to put down, a real page turner!!! There were times I realized I was tensed up wondering what would happen next! I loved the way the author showed the characters trust and reliance on God no matter how seemly impossible their circumstances were. The historical information was well researched and gave a clear picture of Louisiana in this era. I found this extremely interesting. An extremely captivating historical romance. Thank you Ms. Johnson for another very entertaining book!
I received this book from Revell Publishers in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated are my own.

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