Monday, March 11, 2013
Review: Blood Bayou
Karen Young is a popular suspense writer and this is her first inspirational romance, released by Howard Publishing in 2009.
Seven years ago, tragedy ended the troubled marriage of Camille and Jack Vermillion. Now, as head of the Truth Project, her life safe and orderly, she focuses her lawyerly skills on freeing wrongly incarcerated individuals on death row.
Jack paid a bitter price for his mistakes. No longer a high-powered corporate attorney, he's now pastor of a small church in Blood Bayou. Unsure of her own beliefs, Camille is highly skeptical of the conversion of this man she hasn't seen in seven years.
Then tragedy strikes again. Jack's sister is murdered, apparently by a prisoner Camille has set free. To prove his innocence, Camille must return to Blood Bayou. But that means facing the hostility of the town -- and Jack.
I usually like traditional mysteries rather than suspense, but I was drawn to this book because it was Christian fiction written by a successful author in the ABA market. While not a flawless book, I thoroughly enjoyed it and would like to read more by Karen Young.
The cover art accurately depicts what you will find inside. Karen does an excellent job at creating a sense of place in the bayou areas around New Orleans. When asked how Blood Bayou got its name, Camille's mother offers several ideas: "Sometimes, at just the right moment, when the moss-draped branches of the trees along the edge are shot through with setting sun, some say the water seems to turn an eerie blood red. . . . Cajun legend has it that it's the bloody stain of a curse stemming from the desecration of the bayou by big oil and greedy folk. Most say it is simply an optical illusion. . . . On the other hand, scientists claim it's a mix of algae, heat, and swamp gases."
Karen weaves an interesting plot and creates two likeable, but flawed characters in Jack and Camille. Themes of alcohol addiction, guilt, forgiveness and redemption in Christ are woven throughout the story, but not in an overpowering way. The messages of forgiveness and redemption added depth to the story. Jack's faith seemed real to me an I really liked his character.
The mystery kept me turning the pages, not wanting to put the book down. I suspected who the murderer was long before the conclusion, but this did not detract from my enjoyment. For me, it's more about the author's writing style, character development, and how the story unfolds.
This is a great novel for those who enjoy inspirational romantic suspense. Highly recommended.