mystery

Book Review: The Sleuth’s Miscalculation

Nancy Daley has this life thing down. She works as a librarian, everyone knows she’s someone they can turn to in times of trouble and she is an unofficial consultant for the sheriff department. The sheriff who happens to be her mom. She is an independent woman who is doing fine on her own and appears perfectly content to live out her days just as she is. And then she gets paired up with the new deputy, Carter Malone for a mystery.

This is a fun little book. It’s first of all a mystery, it reminded more of an old Murder She Wrote in tone than Nancy Drew. There is a touch of romance, but that is secondary. Nancy and Carter just work together so well and nothing felt rushed about them. I really appreciate when the author has a strong independent woman character, who she doesn’t sacrifice her humanity to make a point of “See! Look how tough she is!”. Nancy is very human, and I mean that completely as a compliment.

I never figure these things out early, I’m a lazy mystery reader. But I found myself trying to figure out whodunnit quite early on, (and…I actually guessed! Yes, I was proud of myself). The cast of characters is quirky, without being flat, and the groundwork is clearly laid for future stories while being a fulfilling story in and of itself.

Note: I received this book as an advance pre-reader copy.

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Book Review- No Greater Gift

NoGreaterGift

My reaction to finishing this book was similar to when you see an excellent live performance and you stand and quietly applause. You know you just saw an exceptional display of talent and were fortunate to have this experience.

Grace Ryan is recently divorced and returning to her hometown to go through her grandmother’s journals. As her beloved grandmother passes away, she begs Grace to find out the truth about a decades old secret. And with this, bestows upon her an inheritance which fractures her already tenuous family relationships. Grace is not left alone with digging into this mystery, she has boxes of journals and records– and a new friend in her grandmother’s neighbor, Erik Petersson.

Erik Petersson has just gone through a divorce, and is picking up the pieces of his life after having been accused (unjustly) of infidelity and having his ex-wife turn his kids against him. He works for Grace’s father and is a physicist who can decipher the more scientific of Grace’s grandfather’s papers.

If I were just to read the above description I just wrote? This is the last kind of book I would read. While I’ve been broadening my reading lately, straight up romance novels are still not my thing.

This is a romance novel that expands from modern times, back to the heart of WWII. It is also the best use I’ve seen of expressing your faith in a contemporary novel I have ever seen. Most of the time when I pick up a Contemporary Christian Fiction Novel, it feels like the author had a story, and then overlaid the message they wanted to preach on top of it. It feels forced, or weakens the story, or sometimes even manipulative. Teresa H Morgan does not do this, she masterly weaves her characters faith into the story, and in doing so, gives us a glimpse of both someone who has had faith most of their life and what they do when life is just unfair and people are cruel and someone who has just come to faith and the strength they have gathered from this new found faith. This would be enough for me to give this book a glowing review, but she goes a step farther to show how some people will use someone’s desire to do the right thing to manipulate. And how to stand strong through that and cutting through the ‘noise’ to rely on God, even when people try to manipulate His word.

My only criticism is I found Erik a bit hard to buy into at the beginning of the book. His interest in Grace is so quick, that I was left wondering what drew him to her. As you get to know both characters better the relationship make sense, and is well developed, it just happens more quickly than I would have expected.

This is an excellent novel and I look forward to further stories from this author.

Note: I received this book as an advance pre-reader copy.