18 October 2011

Review: Ten Plagues by Mary Nealy

Ten Plagues begins with Chicago PD detective Keren Collins following up a missing persons’ report.  Juanita Lopez hasn’t been seen for a week, and Keren’s visit to a condemned tenement building blows up in her face – literally.  Keren has the Biblical gift of discernment, the supernatural ability to sense good and evil spirits, a gift which can be both a blessing and a curse.  Her gift tells her that there is evil surrounding the burning building, but that the man going in to rescue a teenager is good.  Then she finds that the man, Pastor Paul Morris of the Lighthouse Mission, is the man who, as a cop, sent her career spinning backwards, and she is suspicious and resentful towards him.

Paul spend years as a hard-bitten cop, but a personal tragedy forced him to re-evaluate his life, and he now runs a soup kitchen and homeless shelter in inner-city Chicago.  He is pulled into the investigation because of his seminary-taught Latin, the language used by the kidnapper to deliver his hand-carved plaques.  At the same time, he becomes a potential suspect when it is discovered that both of the victims were regular visitors to the homeless shelter.  To complicate matters, Paul is immediately attracted to Keren, but she seems to have an inexplicable aversion to him.  Why?

As the case progresses, Keren and Paul learn to work together to solve a series of crimes that seem to be patterned after the ten plagues of Egypt.  They also have their own personal issues to work through as their mutual attraction grows, including their joint history, Keren’s gift and the reason behind Paul’s change of life. 
I enjoyed Ten Plagues.  I thought the characters were strong, the story was well-plotted, and there was an interesting mystery to solve along with some nail-biting suspense and enough romance to lighten the mood.

Ten Plagues is the first novel from Mary Nealy, the romantic suspense pen-name of award-winning Mary Connealy, who has been a Christy Award and RITA Award finalist for her ‘Romantic Comedy with Cowboys’ novels.  This is not a novel for the faint-hearted (although those who like Tim Downs will probably find this somewhat tame…), but I enjoyed this new voice in romantic suspense, and I will certainly watch out for more of Nealy’s novels.

Thanks to NetGalley and Barbour Publishing for providing a free ebook to review.

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