Breaker’s Reef by Terri Blackstock is the 4th in a series of mysteries in a Christian vein that take place in Cape Refuge. I received a free eCopy of this novel from Book Look Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.
The mystery here revolves around the murder of a bright, bubbly, teenaged girl whose body is found in a rowboat floating between Cape Refuge and Tybee Island, fictitious places in the U.S. state of Georgia. Over-enthusiastic, 19-year-old rookie policeman, Scott Crown (his first week on the job) carries the body to shore, inadvertently destroying evidence. After being reamed out by Chief of Police Matt Cade, he harbours a deep resentment. When a second body is found and the girl’s sandal shows up in the back of Cade’s truck, he becomes a suspect in his own investigation. Sheila Caruso, an ex-con living with her son and daughter at Hanover House (a half-way house run by Jonathan and Morgan Cleary), finds herself quite intimidated by the famous author, Marcus Gibson, who has just moved into town and employs her as a secretary despite her background. After she discovers that the first murder matches exactly the murder in the draft for Gibson’s new novel, she tells Cade and won’t go back to work.
This is a well-written and intriguing plot with lots of surprises, suspense, and red herrings, with a touch of romance thrown in. The characters were interesting and realistic for the most part. The police were somewhat territorial and the young cop clearly had a bit of a hero complex, as well as a lot to learn about doing his job properly. I really liked Blair, who ran the local newspaper and was Cade’s girlfriend, and her sister Morgan. When Sheila is introduced, she still has some of the poor behaviours that got her into trouble in the first place and I liked the way she developed in the course of the story. I was really surprised when the killer’s accomplice was uncovered at the end; I’m not often wrong about “who done it”.
I thought that some of the Christian message would turn off some non-Christian readers. As a Christian, the outlook and ‘jargon’ was familiar and believable to me, and I liked the message about rebuilding your life without looking back, but I felt that others might be skeptical — especially about Sheila’s conversion and some of the ‘miracle’ talk. The mystery itself was riveting; there were lots of strands that wove in and out and kept me guessing.
While this book can stand alone without the reader losing anything from not having read the previous 3 books in the series, I must admit that, having read this one, I want to go back to the beginning and read the first three. * * * 1/2
This book and others in the series are available from Amazon.
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