Monday, July 18, 2016

The Cantaloupe Thief by Deb Richardson-Moore

This novel revolves around the homeless in a Georgia town. While invisible to many, they play a vital role in solving a decade old mystery of a murdered woman.

Branigan, a reporter for the town's paper, is the heroine. She's been asked to write a story about the unsolved murder on its ten year anniversary. Her pursuit of the story takes her to the local homeless shelter, introducing her to their culture.

I appreciate the author's emphasis on the homeless community. One can tell that she knows what she is writing about. She is the pastor of an inner city church to the homeless and she does a good job of taking us into their community. She was also a newspaper reporter and takes readers into the life of a small town newspaper.

This is a novel about relationships. Some of the relationships are among family members, such as Branigan and her brother and among the siblings of the murdered woman. Other relationships are among the homeless and those who minister to them.

The novel is constructed with flashbacks to the days surrounding the murder interspersed into that of contemporary events. I found that I was reading about the same event repeatedly, such as the pancakes with faces. There would be an actual flashback and then retelling of the scenes by people as Branigan interviewed them. The flashbacks are crafted so that each time we understand a little more of the circumstances leading up to the murder even as Branigan uncovers similar information.

Readers should be aware that there is a scene where psychics are shown in a relatively positive light. There is also mild swearing but nothing that does not fit the situation.

I recommend this novel to those who would enjoy a somewhat complicated plot surrounded the solving of a murder that has gone unsolved for a decade. You'll learn a bit about the homeless and ministry to them too.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Deb Richardson-Moore was a reporter for a Greenville newspaper for 27 years. When she received the religion beat, she enrolled in a seminary to learn about her subject, left the newspaper and earned a master of divinity degree. She became pastor of a non-denominational inner city mission to the homeless. Her first book, The Weight of Mercy, tells of her first years in that ministry. She and her husband have three grown children. You can find out more at

Lion Fiction (distributed in the U.S. By Kregel), 300 pages.

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

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