It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!
You never know when I might play a wild card on you!
and the book:
B&H Books (March 1, 2011)
***Special thanks to Julie Gwinn, Trade Book Marketing, B&H Publishing Group for sending me a review copy.***
Robin Caroll is a leading Christian suspense novelist. She gives back to the writing community as conference director for the American Christian Fiction Writers organization. A proud southerner through and through, Robin lives with her husband and three daughters in Arkansas.
Visit the author’s website.
Informed by the real-life fallout of the U.S. economy and devastation caused by multiple hurricanes along the southern coast, In the Shadow of Evil tells a modern day story involving the exposure of a building rebound scam. Amidst the layers of unethical practices, supply shortages, and excess murders, a top Louisiana homicide detective loses his heart to a charitable contractor while uncovering a secret about his tragic past.
List Price: $14.98
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: B&H Books (March 1, 2011)
AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:
Eighteen Years Earlier
What a night!
Maddox turned his car into the residential area and glanced at the digital display on the dash—12:28. Great, late for curfew. He smiled. Being late was worth it when he’d had a hot date with Julie Cordon. Man, the girl was something else. Beautiful, sexy, and funny. Just being with her made him feel special. Made him forget lots of things, including time.
Besides, he was seventeen. Curfews were for kids! A senior in high school, and he had to be home by midnight? All his Pop’s doing.
Tyson Bishop…Mr. Air Force man, determined to force the entire family to live by rules and regulations.
But his dad was over foreign soil right now, jumping out of perfectly good airplanes. Mom understood better, wasn’t quite the stickler about curfews like his dad. Good thing, too. Maddox was almost thirty minutes late tonight. Pop would blow his top and ground him for at least a month. Probably take away his car. But not Mom. She’d just caution him to pay closer attention to the time. Launch into the whole spiel about responsibility and accountability. He could recite it from memory.
Maddox whipped into the driveway and pressed the garage door opener. The light from the kitchen door spilled into the garage. Mom would be up…waiting. He should’ve called.
But being around Julie was like being caught in a time warp. Even the car’s interior held her smell. Light, flowery…teasing and tempting.
He killed the engine and jogged up the steps, slipping his charming smile into place. His mom had never been able to stay mad or disappointed when he flashed his dimples at her. He’d promise to mow the grass tomorrow before Pop got home, and she’d forget all about his tardiness.
He shut the garage door behind him and entered the kitchen. “Mom? I’m home.” The hint of roast lingered in the air.
The house was as silent as a tomb.
Odd. She would normally be on her feet to meet him.
He passed the kitchen’s butcher-block island and continued into the living room. A soft light filled the space beside her reading chair, but no sign of her.
Maddox backtracked to the kitchen. Maybe she was in the downstairs bathroom.
“Hello?” His voice rose an octave as his pulse hammered. The bathroom door was wide open, the room dark.
Where was she?
His steps faltered as he pressed into the kitchen again. The backdoor stood open, the glass pane closest to the knob—shattered. His heart jumped into his throat.
Using the agility that had garnered him the wide receiver place on the varsity football team, Maddox flew down the hall toward his parents’ bedroom. He pushed open the door with shaking hands.
His mother lay sprawled on the floor, a pool of blood staining the carpet around her. Her face pale against the dark red spilling from her chest. A metallic odor permeated the room.
What? He blinked repeatedly, his mind not processing what his eyes saw. Then…he did. And nearly vomited.
He raced to her side, lifting her head into his lap. “Mom.” Tears backed up in his eyes as he smoothed her hair.
“Mad-dy,” she croaked.
He grabbed the phone from the nightstand, the base landing on the floor with a resounding thud. He grabbed the receiver and punched in 9-1-1.
“Hang on, Mom. I’m calling for help.” Every nerve in his body stood at high alert.
“Too. Late.” She grimaced. A gurgling seeped from between her lips. Her body went slack in his arms.
“911, what is the nature of your emergency?”
He closed his eyes. Fought back scalding tears. “My mother. She’s been murdered.”
Alana Taylor runs the Second Chances rehabilitation center in Eternal Springs, Louisiana. When the clients have reached a certain plateau of reliability, some are hired by the local construction companies to work on site.
Layla Taylor, Alana’s sister, runs Taylor Construction, the only female-owned construction company, which she opened when their father died. She had recently won the CotY award for constructing the latest Homes of Hope project. However, arson quickly takes it down, with a murdered man found inside the ruins.
Detectives Maddox Bishop and Houston Wallace of the Calcasieu Sheriff’s office were on call when the fire broke out in the Homes of Hope building, and were called in when an anonymous body was found in the ashes.
Since Layla knew the construction owners, electricians, plumbers, and suppliers, she takes on the responsibility of “helping” the detectives find the perpetrator, looking for anything/anyone out of the ordinary on their sites. This does not sit well with the person responsible, since she could connect this person to the incidences that occur.
In the opening pages of In the Shadow of Evil, Robin starts out with a heart-wrenching murder scene. From that opening, the action explodes fast and furious into additional scenes that demand your full attention to details. When you think you have it all down, she springs another scene that instantly pulls you in another direction. This continues from page one to very last page, fast and furious.
Interspersed within the scenes, possible suspects, and twisting plots, there blows the mild winds of romance. Neither party is open to another romantic relationship due to past hurts and betrayals, but Robin slowly winds them into the web of love. The only part I wasn’t so sure of was how much an officer can get involved with a suspect/client romantically while a case is still in progress. That could easily be my own views based on my legal background.
Although the bulk of the story revolves around the murders and love relationships, Robin deliberately opens the doors to deal with forgiveness and reconciliation in the lives of these two young loves. Bitterness keeps both from forming that relationship built on true love. Robin beautifully and thoughtfully brought both characters to the point of brokenness, bringing tears to my eyes on both accounts. Most importantly, their personal relationship with the Lord is dealt with as well.
I was amazed at how realistic the characters were; how well Robin developed each of the characters personalities. I could easily relate to each of the main characters, and would love to have friends like them in my life. Definitely a great read!