When 30-something housewife Alison Monaghan discovers proof of her husband's infidelity in a photograph with a mysterious woman, she must decide how to confront Frank when he returns home from work. Despite the influence of her best friend Valerie, a strong Christian, Alison remains aloof from God and is determined to handle this crisis her own way. But Alison may not get that chance.
Frank never makes it home. Soon his body is found on a lonely back-country road in antebellum Weathersby Historic Park where Frank served on the board of directors and where Alison, with a degree in landscape design, was a volunteer garden docent. Homicide detective Mike Barefoot, a Cherokee native from the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, immediately puts Alison at the top of his suspect list. He finds himself drawn to her—and not just because she had motive for the crime. As an army veteran, Mike usually keeps his emotional walls high. And as a detective, he knows not to get involved with murder suspects. So why he is so attracted to Alison? Can he fight his feelings for her—and the stirrings in his heart toward God?
My take: Carolina Reckoning is the kind of suspense novel I enjoy—one with enough mystery to keep my inner suspense-lover intrigued and enough romance to satisfy the romantic in me. It also isn't remotely gory or supernatural—something I don't enjoy in a suspense novel.
I especially appreciated the way Christianity is portrayed in the novel. At the beginning, neither Alison nor Mike has any relationship with God. But the Christians around them model Christ in such a way that they both long to know Him. Author Lisa Carter weaves faith into the novel in an organic way—never does she come off as preachy.
I did have a little trouble following the twists and turns that ultimately led to Frank's killer, and I think that's because I couldn't remember all of the characters. While the main characters (and even those in fairly large supporting roles) were distinct and fleshed out, those on the periphery seemed to blend together. So when the truth began coming to light, I found myself going, "OK, who was that again?" If I'd had a better handle on those characters, I think I would have enjoyed the payoff more.
That said, I did greatly enjoy Carolina Reckoning. It's suspenseful and romantic and points the reader to Christ, three things that make reading Carolina Reckoning a positive experience.
My rating: 4 stars
Read the first chapter.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book for review from Abingdon Press. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”