Good Christian Message
Eighteen years ago, six-year-old Sarah Miller hid in a closet with her older sister, Hannah, while their parents were murdered. The killers were never found, and the murders written off as a burglary gone wrong. Now, Hannah has been murdered and there are disturbing links between the two sets of murders, links the police don’t seem interested in investigating.
Sanctuary, the setting for Deadly Echoes, has a large Conservative Mennonite population. This gives the town a particular Christian feel and allows the author to have more of a Christian focus than many Christian novels, something she manages to integrate naturally into the plot without it seeming preachy, and without over-spiritualising any of the characters or turning them into Christian caricatures. This seamless integration of Christianity was a strength of the novel, and I especially liked seeing Sarah’s growing realisation of her value in Christ.
The other strength was around Sarah and her ten-year-old niece, Cicely (although I did think some of Cicely’s dialogue seemed too old for a ten-year-old). Sarah and Cicely were both orphaned by murder, and both find the bodies, so Sarah has a unique—if tragic—understanding of what Cicely is going through. I liked the way this was dealt with.
What wasn’t so strong, to my mind, was the romantic suspense plot. I found parts of it somewhat cliché (which took away from the suspense), and the romance was perhaps too understated. That’s not to say it’s not a good book—it’s just that it was missing that ‘zing’ factor that would have made it excellent.
Deadly Echoes is the second book in the Finding Sanctuary series, following Gathering Shadows. The two books have the same setting and share some minor characters, but Deadly Echoes is a stand-alone novel.
Thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. To find out more about Nancy Mehl, visit her website. Nancy is also a member of the Suspense Sisters.