It’s the week before Easter, and a student from San Diego Theological Seminary has just been found murdered in a manner that is both brutal and unique. Carmen Rainmondi is the police detective assigned to the case, along with partner Bob Tock. And one murder with no leads soon turns into two, then …
Ellis Poe is a professor at the Seminary, and is both surprised and worried when Carmen Rainmondi turns up to interview him about the victim. Because he recognises her. She’s the image of her sister, who he saw murdered years ago. Ellis sees that Carmen is still tormented because the murderer was never found—perhaps because he never reported what he saw. Yet it seems that Ellis might hold the key to this case.
This was one of those books that:
a) You shouldn’t read alone in the house;
b) You shouldn’t start just before bedtime.
I didn’t make either of these mistakes, thankfully, because once I started, I just couldn’t put down. Not only is there the mystery over finding the murderer before he strikes again, but there is the elephant in the room of what Ellis hasn’t told Carmen about her sister. Ellis was the archetype of the college professor—intelligent, highly-principled, but a total wimp. He knows what he should do, but he’s afraid to do it.
There were a couple of things that made me shake my head. One was the description of everyone hurrying to get home after work on Good Friday. You mean it isn’t a holiday in the US? Here in New Zealand, Good Friday is a major public holiday, and only essential services are open. There was also the inevitable comment on the origin of Easter—for another viewpoint, I recommend reading this blog post from Anne Hamilton (which makes a lot of sense).
Anyway, back to the book review. The other thing that was slightly weird was the last line. While it fit the storyline, I don’t think it was a good last line (but it would have made a great last line in a prologue leading into a sequel). That’s another annoying thing—Wounds is published by B&H, who have just cancelled their fiction line, which almost certainly cuts out the possibility of a sequel. A shame.
All in all, Wounds is an exciting thriller, albeit a bit gory in places. It’s not preachy-Christian (although there is a bit of preaching in the funeral service), and of the main characters, only Ellis is a Christian. There is an underlying theme of the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross. It’s so subtle that a non-Christian probably wouldn’t even notice, but it’s there. Recommended for thriller fans who don’t mind a few dead bodies.
Thanks to B&H Publishing and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Alton Gansky at his website.