Friday, February 20, 2015

Book review: Deadly Echoes by Nancy Mehl

As you know, I signed up to review books for Bethany House Publishers (thanks, Aimee, by the way – I got the idea from you). I’ll be honest with you, most of the time I don’t choose to read Christian fiction, purely based on the cheese factor. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t want a lot of smut or violence in a book, but sometimes authors writing for a faith-based publisher take it a little too far.

Deadly Echoes by Nancy Mehl is a murder mystery novel, and I was curious to see how she’d handle the issues within. I was expecting visions of the murder victim dancing in a field with Jesus or other nonsense that says that even though awful things happen to good people it was God’s plan for that to happen (but I digress into a tangent…), but Mehl avoided those kinds of clichés. Instead, she painted realistic, flawed characters with genuine struggles involved in an interesting plot.

“Feelings buried alive never die.” Sarah Miller finds herself as the guardian of her ten-year old niece after her sister Hannah is murdered. She deals with these tragedies while also addressing her past, in and out of foster homes after her own parents were murdered. She also struggles to reconcile who she is without comparing herself to others. I actually found myself tearing up every now and then when I realized that there are tons of people who deal with feelings of insecurity because they don't measure up to what they think is the perfect standard (myself included). This aspect of Sarah's character made her more human, although Mehl wrapped it up rather abruptly, in my opinion, almost like she was tired of writing it in to the storyline.

Sandwiched in the midst of all these layers is the connection between Hannah’s murder and their parents’ twenty years prior, and Sarah and the local deputy sheriff work together to uncover the truth. A host of law enforcement characters weave in and out of the story, and I found myself constantly wondering who to trust. Mehl built a good amount of suspense throughout the story, which moved me quickly through the storyline.

That said, it was a quick read. Not the hugest amount of depth, although the author developed a good basic plotline. I found myself questioning small details throughout, but not enough to spoil it for me. I will say this, though – had I seen the cover and only the cover, I would NOT have chosen this book. Nate literally asked me what on earth I was reading and whether it was for sixteen-year old girls (leave it to him to be brutally honest!).
See what I mean? A little much...

All in all, I’d recommend this, but not as anything too deep or thought-provoking. Every now and then it's okay with me to have a book that holds my interest but can still be read while my little people are awake, and this was it.

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