Monday, August 1, 2016

When Death Draws Near by Carrie Stuart Parks

This is the third in the series featuring Gwen Marcy and I have enjoyed all of them. A forensic artist, Gwen is contracted to do some work in a small Kentucky town. There have been a series of rapes and she is supposed to draw a likeness of the rapist from victim interviews. As she starts working, she sense there is something wrong. The sheriff is stone walling her. It is not until she meets a wealthy couple with White House aspirations that Gwen finds out the real reason she's been hired.

One of the reasons I like this series is because I learn something in every novel. An interesting aspect of forensic science deals with speech. Gwen can figure out when someone is lying because of the words they use and the sentence structure. For example, when someone says, “Sorry,” they're really not. But, if they say, I'm sorry,” that shows they own the deed and truly are sorry.

Much of this novel centers around Pentecostal snake handlers. They handle snakes based on the promise in Mark 16:17. Gwen is told lies about this group when she first hears about them. It was very interesting to see Gwen's perception of them change as she gets to know the people. This is a good example of the fear and prejudice that comes when we don't understand a different expression of Christianity.

It looks like Gwen's breast cancer is back as the novel opens. Gwen is not happy with God. I had a little trouble with her character in the first part of the novel. She seemed much more weak than I remembered her. As the novel progresses, however, the old Gwen is back. She revealed her toughness when it was needed.

This is a novel with a complex murder mystery. I am not sure I understood it all in the end and I'm not sure all the loose ends got tied up. Nonetheless, I enjoyed it and recommend it.

Read my review of the earlier novels in the series: A Cry from the Dust and The Bones will Speak.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Carrie Stuart Parks is an award-winning fine artist and internationally known forensic artist. She teaches forensic art courses to law enforcement professionals and is the author/illustrator of numerous books on drawing. She began to write fiction while battling breast cancer. Now in remission, she continues to encourage other women struggling with cancer. You can find out more at

Thomas Nelson, 336 pages.

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

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