Saturday, January 6, 2018

"Deeds of Darkness" by Mel Starr

Most of the Christian fiction I'm aware of is geared toward women. (Maybe this is just because I seek out what I like, and what I like is romance and women's fiction, but I'm positive that more Christian fiction books are written with women as the intended audience.) That's where Mel Starr's Hugh de Singleton books are different—they're inspirational medieval fiction, but they're not romance, and they're written from a male perspective. While this isn't something I'd normally gravitate toward, I find these books to be a breath of fresh air.

When Bampton’s coroner, Hubert Shillside, does not return from a trip to Oxford, Master Hugh de Singleton is called. 

Concerned for his old friend, Hugh takes to the road to investigate. Travel is safer than in times hence but, out of sight of prying eyes; it is still unwise to travel alone… 

Hugh finds a body, stabbed and left to rot, but it is not the body he was expecting to find. Indeed, reports of pillage, attacks, and chaos on the roads out of Oxford suddenly seem rampant. Hugh must ascertain whether the incidents are random, or whether something darker is afoot. 

The guilty cannot afford to be caught, but what lengths will they go to cover their tracks, and will Hugh escape unscathed?

Deeds of Darkness is the tenth (tenth!) entry in The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon series. I joined in with the third installment, A Trail of Ink, and I've been hooked ever since! (The books do somewhat build on each other, but each story is self contained, so you can jump in at any time.)

In Deeds of Darkness, Master Hugh seeks to discover what happened to a man from his village who went missing ... and instead uncovers a band of thieves who sometimes turn to murder. Along the way, he also performs several medical procedures. These procedures are always my favorite part of any Hugh de Singleton novel—they're sometimes gruesome, but they're also fascinating!

The stakes aren't as high for Hugh in this novel as in some others—his life is never truly in danger, and his family is healthy and happy—and the identity of at least one of the villains is apparent fairly early on, but it's still an enjoyable story. 4 stars.

Buy the book.
Read my reviews of Starr's A Trail of Ink, Unhallowed Ground (5 stars), The Tainted Coin (4-1/2 stars), Rest Not in Peace (4-1/2 stars), The Abbot's Agreement (5 stars), Ashes to Ashes (4 stars), and Lucifer's Harvest (5 stars).

Mel Starr was born and grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan. After graduating with a MA in history from Western Michigan University in 1970, he taught history in Michigan public schools for thirty-nine years, thirty-five of those in Portage, MI, where he retired in 2003 as chairman of the social studies department of Portage Northern High School. Mel and his wife, Susan, have two daughters and seven grandchildren.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free for review from Kregel Publications. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 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.”

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