“What the Bishop Saw” begins in Goshen, Indiana. Henry Lapp is beaned in a baseball game and as a result has acquired savant syndrome. This allows him to display unusual skills in art. He is able to draw everything he sees, right down to the facial expressions. He and his parents almost consider this a curse.
Fifty-two years later finds Henry in San Luis Valley, Colorado as bishop of an Amish community. Someone is setting fires and in one of them a man died. The whole town is on edge, but it seems that the arsonist is targeting only Amish families, causing some of them to move away instead of trying to find the person responsible. Henry resists using his “gift” to help, but pressure from his friends cause him to draw exactly what he saw at the first fire. His uncanny ability to capture absolutely everything around him at a particular moment finds clues that would not be recognizable at all. This novel by Vanetta Chapman is entertaining. It is centered around a syndrome that is quite rare and the story surrounding it brings to light the problems that it sometimes causes. I like the book, it kept me interested.
I know when I have read an outstanding book by the fact that I cannot get the story or the characters out of my mind after having read it. “The Other Side of Courage” by Joe Matlock is such a book. This book is written about the American fliers and their counterparts in Britain during World War II. One pilot, Tom MacMillan is sent to England to fly against the Nazis because he is a scoundrel and one girl did not respect had family connections with his commanding officer. In reality, he is a coward. He doesn’t want to fight, is scared to death of going into battle. During one early sortie, he is hit by flak and is recuperating in the army hospital. His nurse is Molly Masterson, a wonderful girl who really does not want to be a nurse and who hates American fliers. Their relationship is a back and forth war-of-words until sparks fly between them. Her family is not enamored of Joe, but he and Molly love each other and have plans.
During wartime, one can never be sure of the future. This is true of Molly and Joe. She worries and frets when he flies his missions, and he just tries to do his job and get home to Molly. Joe is shot down and is helped by the resistance to get back to England. He is so anxious to see Molly, but fate has a different path for him.
I was so captivated by the writing of Joe Matlock. The characters really came to life for me and the descriptions of aerial combat kept me on the edge of my chair. Joe really goes through so many emotions and life changing experiences that it was hard to imagine anyone surviving all this. However, I’m sure that in war, especially a war like that the men who fight never come back the same person as they were before their war experiences. This book will join others in my personal library, not to be loaned or traded. Joe mentions in the back of this book that he is not a real author. I beg to differ. I think his writing is exciting, insightful, and compassionate. I look forward to reading his next work about Katinka Oostvogels, a Dutch girl and Commander Bob Corey, a survivor of Pearl Harbor and their adventures together in Joe’s next great saga.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Mr. Matlock for my honest review.
Lisa Harris has written a great series of mystery and suspense, The Nikki Boyd Files. In this first book of the series, “Vendetta”, we are led through a maze of mysterious events which also lead to multiple murders, seeming with no reason. Nikki and her team of investigators as members of the Tennessee Missing Persons Task Force, follow the clues, the suspects, the victims and the crimes to solve the abduction of a young girl. This case harkens back to ten years earlier when Nikki’s sister, Sarah, was abducted, never to be seen again. Nikki has been on the lookout for her abductor ever since. Is this the work of the same person or a copy-cat crime?
Into the mix, we find Tyler Grant, the widower of Nikki’s best friend, Katie. The two of them are just discovering the feelings they have for one another and striving not to feel guilty that with Katie’s death, they lean on each other for comfort in their grief. Neither one expected their feelings to escalate as they did.
This mystery kept me on the edge of my seat all the way to the end. The list of suspects grew along with the dead bodies. I could not put the book down and will definitely continue to read any books by Lisa Harris.
Revell has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.
“When Winter is Past” by Janice Cole Hopkins is a novel about the life in colonial Pennsylvania in 1739. Stanton Klein was a farmer in the area outside of Philadelphia. He has lost his wife and unborn child a year ago and was trying to run his farm along with an indentured servant. He knew he needed a wife to help run the farm and decided to go into the town of Middleville to search for an appropriate bride.
He wisely went to his minister to ask for suggestions as to where he might start to look. He was enamored of a beautiful girl, Fiona Fletcher, whose parents seemed eager for her to wed. But after witnessing her treatment of a crippled young woman, he determined that she would not be a caring wife. He asked about Beth Evans, the crippled woman who was caring for her father who was very ill. She had endured the bullying and scorn from Fiona and her friends by turning the other cheek and walking away. After befriending Beth, Stanton found his bride. Beth’s father asked that they wed soon as he was aware that his time on earth was limited.
After they wed, Beth proved to be a loving wife and helping companion to him and the farm. However, alarming incidents started occurring which no one could explain. It all began when someone had entered their home during the night and left grotesque severed chicken parts on their dining table. Beth was shot as she searched for mushrooms; Ralph, the indentured servant was shot, and Beth was abducted briefly as she was doing her farm work. Finding the culprit(s) and staying safe consumed Stanton. The end to this story was heart-warming. I enjoyed reading this novel very much.
I purchased a Kindle copy of this book from Amazon.com. No review positive or otherwise was required – all opinions are my own.
The Molly Murphy Mystery series by Rhys Bowen is one of my favorites. This series blends the history of a by-gone era with the tenacity of a young woman as she gets herself into all kinds of trouble. In “The Edge of Dreams”, someone is committing murders and after each one, Molly’s husband, Daniel Sullivan, a police captain receives a cryptic message from the killer.
Molly and their son, Liam, are in a horrible train crash, but escape with their lives. Daniel receives another message from the killer which causes suspicion that the train crash is not an accident, but purposefully staged to take the life of someone on board. Are these murders a form of revenge? Are Molly and Liam in danger from the murderer because of their connection to Daniel, or is the killer after someone prominent in the community?
Molly’s friends, Sid and Gus have a friend who needs help with her niece who has been left an orphan after a fire killed her parents in their bed. Mabel was not injured in the fire and this is suspicious to one of Daniel’s fellow policemen. Mabel is having dreams that leave her screaming and the aunt is seeking help for the young girl. Suspicion is that the girl killed her parents and set the house on fire and ran and hid in the garden. Molly herself is having dreams and blames her Irish heritage for her second sight. She thinks these dreams have some kind of connection to Daniel’s murder cases. Eventually all comes to light as the murderer’s identity is discovered. This is another fine mystery novel by Rhys Bowen.
I was sent a print copy of this book by NightOwlReviews.com in return for my honest review.
“Silenced” by Dani Pettrey is the fourth book in the Alaskan Courage series. This series is set in Alaska and portrays the members of the McKenna family as they find adventure and love in this beautiful state.
In this book, expert climber Kayden McKenna discovers a dead body as she is finishing a climb. Jake Westin, a former investigator, is asked to help the sheriff’s department in looking into the accident and is deputized. Kayden and Jake find that the death is not an accident, but murder. There is no shortage of suspects. While investigating this crime, other “accidents” occur that are sinister in nature. Jake’s past is catching up with him and using Kayden as revenge.
I enjoyed this novel, but while reading it, I was constantly referred back to previous books about this family. I wish that I had read the books in order. This was not the most exciting murder-romance mystery I’ve read, but it was entertaining. I was sent a free print copy of this book by Bethany House in return for my honest review.
I love to read suspenseful and intriguing mysteries that keep me turning pages feverishly. “Deceived” by Irene Hannon was such a book. I started this book one evening and was reluctant to stop reading and go to bed. I finished it the next day, of course accomplishing nothing else.
Kate Marshall is finally trying to go on with her life after suffering the most horrible experience that can befall a wife and mother. Her husband and son have tragically been killed in a boating accident. He was a respected pediatric physician and Kevin was a four year old little boy. It is three years later and Kate has established herself as a counselor for women trying to enter the workplace after enduring marital abuse. She was on track, that is, until she spotted a young boy at the mall. He was the spitting image of what she would expect Kevin to look like after all this time and after hearing him use a word that was uniquely his, her whole existence turned around. In order to satisfy herself that this was either wishful thinking on her part or that in fact this was her lost son, she hires a private investigation firm to act on her behalf. This is all I will say about this story line because you must read this book for yourself. I will be looking for more novels by Irene Hannon.
I was sent a free print copy by Revell Publishers in return for my honest review.