Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Carolina Reckoning by Lisa Carter

I love a good mystery and this is a good one.

It opens with Alison Monaghan finding a photo in her husband's jacket pocket – a photo of Frank with another woman. She'd often suspected and now she had proof of a liaison while on one of his long trips as an airline pilot. She would confront him when he came home that evening from yet another of his flights. But he never comes home and the next morning the police are on her door step. Frank has been murdered.

That sets the pace for the novel. The bad news continues as Alison finds out that all their money is gone. Life will certainly have to change for her and her teen-aged son and daughter. She is determined to find out who killed her husband and why, much to the dismay of the detective assigned to the case, Mike Barefoot.

This novel takes place in Raleigh, North Carolina, a place foreign to my Pacific Northwest locale. I like to learn about a topic when I read a novel and learn I did. Frank was on the board of directors of an antebellum plantation historic park and Alison was a volunteer garden docent there. Lisa did a great job of revealing the society structure and character of the southerners associated with that park. They were high society and didn't tolerate imperfection, like having your husband murdered. Even Alison's children were made fun of by their classmates.

I also got a peek into some of the unsavory history of the area too. Who your great grandfather was might determine your place in the ranks of society. Some of the cat fights these women had! That brings up the well developed characters. You could just feel the venom dripping off some of the women.

My favorite aspect of the book was the Christian witness. Alison is not on speaking terms with God as the novel opens but she has a saving experience mid-novel. Sometimes authors add a little Christianity in a novel to make it “Christian.” Not so in this one. Christianity is central to the story line, especially at its suspenseful end.

There is romance too. The detective has feelings for Alison and it is entertaining to see them butt heads as the investigation proceeds.

A good mystery, well developed characters, a little romance, learning about a part of the U.S., twists and turns and red herrings, Christianity essential to the story...this novel has all the aspects I want in a good novel. I highly recommend it.

Go here to see the book trailer.

Lisa Carter is a speaker, vocalist, teacher and writer. Carolina Reckoning is her debut novel. She and her husband and two daughters make their home in North Carolina.

Abingdon Press, 336 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

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