In Sugar Land, Texas, just outside of Houston, folks are not supposed to die. Not in this world of perfect master planned communities of perfect lawns, perfect homes, and powerful Home Owners Associations. Everything in sight is to be aesthetically pleasing at all times. Dead bodies are certainly not supposed to be laying out in plain view.
But, that is exactly what Graham Garcia did messing up the ambiance one Monday morning. He was murdered and his body was left where it fell on the golf course near the tunnel under Alcorn Oaks Boulevard. Unfortunately, on her way to school and away from teen drivers on nearby streets, thirteen-year-old Jessica Min found him. It would have been golfers on any other morning and she would have been spared the sight. Instead, she found him as the golf course was closed for grass maintenance. Having seen more than a few crime shows Jessica knew not to touch the body. Instead, as quick as she could, she went back home and told her mother.
The first Walker “Bear” Wells knew about the death was when Detective James Wanderley walked into his office like he owned the place, asked a lot of questions that were about everything else, and then finally got down to it. Back in the day “Bear” played football for The University of Texas as a starting right guard. These days, he writes theology books, leads a congregation, and tries to take care of the people of his church. While Graham Garcia was not a member of the congregation, the rest of the family was.
A little over 48 hours earlier Bear had a meeting with Graham Garcia. While Detective Garcia wants to play 20 questions, Bear’s focus is on the family and their suffering. In his mind that makes precedence over everything else. He ditches the detective, picks up his wife, and heads over to see what comfort he can bring in their time of need. His attempt to help them will lead to many questions and his active involvement in this complicated mystery from author Stephanie Jaye Evans.
Faithful Unto Death: A Sugar Land Mystery is a complex and extremely enjoyable debut novel. Along with observations about the wealthy master planned communities, there are plenty of observations about the role of faith regardless of religion, parenting, family, and other topics. These observations are asides and an integral part of the characters in such a way that they do not detract at all from the mystery.
A mystery that has plenty of plot twists and turns with no artificial inducements as the reader is taken for quite a ride. This is a book that starts slowly, builds steadily, and leads readers to quite an ending. In short, Faithful Unto Death: A Sugar Land Mystery is an intense riveting read that skillfully works on every level and does not preach to readers. Simply put, this is a very good book and well worth your time.
The next book in this series SAFE FROM HARM is scheduled to be released on March 5, 2013. So far it is not listed in my local library system, but, hopefully that will change.
Faithful Unto Death: A Sugar Land Mystery
Stephanie Jaye Evans
Berkley Prime Crime
Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano, Texas Public Library System.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2013
Mind Slices and Carpathian Shadows, Volume II
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