There is an excellent cartoon going around that shows an author on trial,
and a reader is standing before the judge saying:
"That's the one! That's them!
Their book kidnapped me and wouldn't let me go!"
Now, ladies and gentlemen, I submit that that book may well be Carolina Reckoning.
Those who know me know that I love all things Southern and Mystery.
Put the two together (think In The Heat of The Night ...what an excellent Tv show that is!) and I walk around with a smile that is far too big to be healthy.
When I saw that Old Southern mansion and that big slow moon shining down on the cover of
Carolina Reckoning, well, I knew I had to read it.
And then when I opened the book, and found such a strong personality in both of the main characters, I knew I wanted to keep reading.
In Mike Barefoot's opening scene, we find him in the grocery store. I howled with laughter as I read his thoughts. Mike is a homicide detective, and the law-enforcement mind is present in his inner dialoge. As he maneuvers his way to the frozen dinner aisle in search of a good home-cooked meal, he comes across two college boys buying beer: a frat party in the making, a toddler whose behavior indicates that he will be a serial murderer someday, and a mean little Granny who hits him with a can of beans: a tip-off that she probably has bodies buried in her backyard.
See what I'm talking about?
Meanwhile, Alison Monaghan is trying to re-imagine her life without her husband...the proof of his infidelity just came to light, and her world will never be the same.
Soon those words, "life without her husband" take on a whole new and even more raw meaning...
he is dead. Murdered on a back road, his car pointing toward home.
Now, with no closure as the leads all dry up, Alison must use her brave spirit to investigate her husband's death herself. The resolve and courage that she was going to need to rebuild after his adultery must now be used to find answers to his execution.
And we get to go along with Alison and Mike. As they search for the truth about Frank Monaghan, they may just encounter the Way, the Truth and the Life HImself, as well as find the truth about God's plan for their futures.
Thank you Lisa Carter and Abingdon Press for sending me Carolina Reckoning!
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.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.
Lisa Carter is another new author for me and I'm so glad to have discovered her writing.
She has a way of mixing mystery with romance and with faith that is fun to read and very engaging.
I felt fully committed to this story and to these characters while reading the book. I felt many emotions with them while appreciating the humor woven through the story. I appreciated the characters' quests for faith and their desire to know more about God. Their search for God was genuine and it was a pleasure to journey with them on the pages of this book.
This is a book that will appeal to many different kinds of readers. All readers will find something great to love while reading and enjoying this fantastic story.
How would you feel if those suspicions you had of your husband were confirmed by finding a photo of them together in the pocket of his raincoat? Well for Alison Monaghan it is the proverbial straw that brings her to a breaking point. With her husband Frank being a bit of a control freak, she's finally going to summon the courage to confront him now that she finally has the proof she's been looking for. The only thing that causes her to reconsider is how it will affect their children, Clare and Justin now that they are in high school. Will it mean a messy divorce? How will she be able to provide for herself and her children since Frank has been their financial safety net all these years as a commercial pilot? All she knows is she has to deal with all the emotions she's been keeping bottled up all these years and tonight when Frank gets home, she's gonna let him have it.
Only Frank never arrives home. Alison receives that fateful knock at the door all wives dread. And the news is just what she never hoped to hear. Frank has been found murdered just seven miles from their home and of course, like most detectives, Alison is their key suspect. Deep in her heart she wanted him to pay, but not like this. She never wanted him dead. But how can she deal with the fact she's not as upset as a wife should be? That is just the thing, Raleigh homicide detective Mike Barefoot is wondering as well. He's been working enough of these cases to know just how convincing wives can be after murdering their husbands. However the more time he spends investigating the case and getting to know the man Frank really was, the more he convinces himself that Alison had nothing to do with his murder. Now if he can only keep his focus on finding the killer instead of finding himself drawn to Alison's heart.
In the latest novel from Lisa Carter, Carolina Recknoning takes the reader inside the murder of Frank Monaghan and the lifestyle he keep secretly from his wife and family. Alison doesn't believe she can move forward until she finds out more about the life Frank kept hidden from her including leaving them penniless and in more debt than she ever could imagine. Her children have their own problems to deal with living in wealthy neighborhood and being part of the affluent class of people in their city. Now all their friends suddenly turn on them they've known forever and the only thing any of them have is one another to survive in high school among the horrible things their friends say about their family. Is it possible to find hope in the midst of this crisis? Will their lives ever go back to normal again? But as the family is drawn into discovering who the murderer is, they suddenly find themselves with targets on their backs as well.
I received Carolina Reckoning by Lisa Carter compliments of Abingdon Press for my honest review and did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review. This novel really draws out the emotions to make you consider what you would do in this situation. How would you move forward? How can you bring yourself to forgive someone when they have hurt you beyond what you think you can bear? How can you forgive someone now that they are gone? This is truly a story about solving a crime but even greater than that is finding redemption for yourself. The family ultimately finds that a relationship with God is the only way they can salvage what is going on and it doesn't happen overnight. In fact, its a realistic portrayal of what happens in the life of a believer. Things don't get easy for them because they start going to church, in fact, it gets worse. They struggle with things just like we all do but there is a peace found when you know you hope is in God instead of what the world has to offer. I'd rate this one a 4 out of 5 stars!
This author is new to me and I really enjoyed this book. It took a couple chapters for me to really get into it but then I was hooked. There are some really colourful characters that add fun to the sometimes intense storyline. All of the characters have flaws and shortcomings, and Mike's character in particular does not always say or do what you'd expect the 'love interest' to. That also adds humour, and makes things a little more realistic. Mike is a bit of a redneck from the mountains, not Mr. Sensitive, but his heart is in the right place.
Even though I struggled with it in the beginning, and certain outcomes seemed a little over the top, all in all it was a good read that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys romantic suspense. The story moves along at a good pace and the characters are interesting and a little different.
I received this book from Netgalley and Abingdon Press for the purpose of an honest review. My opinion is my own. Thank you Abingdon Press.