By Sandra Orchard
Sandra Orchard is a new friend. I met her recently at a Christian writer’s conference and I enjoyed talking with her. In our conversations, I said I would do a blog book review for her. Another author took me up on that as well (see the Ozark Trilogy). I’d read another one or two of Sandra’s books before I’d even met her. For one day, Sandra offered Deadly Devotion for free on kindle. I snatched it up and had a wonderful read. Deadly Devotion is one of Sandra’s most recent, although there is a sequel out, called Blind Trust.
I won’t give you a long plot summary, but there were wonderful surprises and great elements to it. I really liked it, and I don’t say so if I don’t.
Here’s the description of the plot from Christianbook.com.
Research scientist Kate Adams and her colleague Daisy are on the brink of a breakthrough for treating depression with herbal medicine when Daisy suddenly dies. Kate knows that if it hadn’t been for Daisy’s mentorship, she wouldn’t have the job she loves or the faith she clings to. So when police rule Daisy’s death a suicide, Kate is determined to unearth the truth.
Former FBI agent Tom Parker finds it hard to adjust to life back in his hometown of Port Aster. Though an old buddy gives him a job as a detective on the local police force, not everyone approves. Tom’s just trying to keep a low profile, so when Kate Adams demands he reopen the investigation of her friend’s death, he knows his job is at stake. In fact, despite his attraction to her, Tom thinks Kate looks a bit suspicious herself.
I liked the research Sandra did on natural chemistry and herbs. She also explains it in the back of the book. My husband works in a natural food store, making this more interesting to me. In a world where many times modern medicine fails us, it’s good to know that alternatives are also being researched.
Kate has issues with police, stemming from her father’s arrest. She finds herself being drawn to Detective Parker who seems to help her out of trouble on many occasions. She loves his family, and Tom enlists his father to help Kate in her investigations.
The police think Daisy killed herself, even if it was accidental, so they close the case. Kate doesn’t believe it. Running on pure emotion, Kate not only confronts a handsome police detective, Tom Parker, about the hasty investigation, but she also decides to investigate on her own. Of course that leads her into a lot of mishaps and some serious trouble, not only with the law, but eventually the killer.
Detective Tom Parker moved home to Canada after being with the FBI in the U.S. He feels guilty about an FBI case gone awry, plus his father is stuck in his grief over Tom’s mother’s death. Tom also has problems on the job front, not just from Kate, but his boss is putting pressure on him to “obey.” There’s history there, and I won’t spoil it for you.
Daisy was a wonderful Christian woman. We really didn’t get to meet her, but we got to know her through Kate’s memories of her. Daisy’s faith impacted Kate. It takes Kate a while to come to her own faith. What I liked is that Tom’s father and Kate working together. It helps Tom out of his depression, and it shows Kate what a loving family could look like.
I read some of the sharply negative reviews of this book. I realize everyone has their own opinion. I understood Kate, because she’s a woman who wants to think logically, but her actions are clouded by her emotions. Emotions make us more empathetic to her character, even though we know she’s going to get herself in trouble for her pig-headedness.
What I look for in suspense and mystery is characters, action, and plot twists. They’re all here. And knowing a little bit about Sandra now, and having read a couple of her Love Inspired books, I know a little bit about the work she put into this. Grant it, this is the first book in the series, so not every plot thread will be resolved except for the main mystery of who killed Daisy and why.
For those reader/reviewers who are not writers, they probably have no idea of the work that goes into writing a novel. The author drafts it, beta readers read it, editors edit it, the author revises it (numerous times) and finally it gets published. Even this is an oversimplification of the process.
I’d give this book 4-1/2 stars. I liked it. I really did.