Monday, March 31, 2014

Hands of Darkness by Heather James

If you like suspense you'll love this book.

We met Evelyn in Unholy Hunger – but you don't have to read it to thoroughly enjoy this book. It has been long enough since Evelyn's daughter was kidnapped and murdered. She found the killer but in the aftermath was disbarred. Now she consults for jury selection (she was good at reading people), until Thatcher, the detective in her daughter's case, asks her to consult with him.

Thatcher is after a serial rapist/killer in San Diego and Evelyn agrees to help him. She and Eddie and baby Owen are happy to move there, to get away from the city of the horrible memories. It allows Evelyn to reconnect with her law school roommate, Jen. The situation becomes personal for Evelyn when Jen is attacked and raped – but manages to escape death. Evelyn is determined to find the evil man, putting herself right in the path of danger.

James has crafted an excellent suspense novel. I love Evelyn. She is an outspoken and forceful woman. She irritates Thatcher with her continuous plunging through police protocols, but he also knows she gets the job done. She has an insatiable drive to find evil and eradicate it, even to the point of putting her own life in danger.

We get into the mind of the killer as James has interspersed short chapters of his thoughts throughout the novel. It is uncanny. I have always had difficulty understanding the motivation of a serial murderer. James has provided a realistic thought pattern that makes raping and killing women a necessary and frequent act for the man.

Just a word of caution. This is not a “cozy” mystery. James has included some pretty suspenseful events with intense description and feeling. I really got a sense of the evil nature of the rapist. There are no unnecessary, overly graphic details, but I was certainly drawn into the evil nature of the killer.

This is not an overtly “Christian” novel. Evelyn doesn't pray when faced with danger. The novel is a gripping account of the battle between good and evil, however. I highly recommend it.

Heather James is a practicing attorney and newspaper columnist who writes on marriage, family, and parenting matters.

Kregel Publications, 272 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

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