Marji Laine

I Love a Good Mystery!

Tension, Romance, and Twists

Rising DarknessLast weekend, I delighted in inhaling Rising Darkness by fellow Suspense Sister, Nancy Mehl.  This is the 3rd book in her Finding Sanctuary series, but I’ve found that the two I’ve enjoyed (this one along with the first) are carefully crafted, stand-alone books. The well-loved characters from past books revisited in the third enhancing the story for readers who have followed along, but those characters are well-drawn for newcomers.

Here’s the short version of the story:

Sophie Wittenbauer left her strict Mennonite hometown under a cloud of shame and regret. After a rough childhood, her teenage poor choices harmed others, leaving her with no choice but to change her life. Her entry-level writing job at a newspaper puts her in the right place at the right time to overhear office gossip about a prisoner who has information on a decades-old unsolved crime. While the other reporters write off the tip as the ravings of an angry criminal, Sophie can’t ignore it because she knows the name of this prisoner from her old life.

Upon learning from the man that one of the other suspects is hiding out in the Missouri town of Sanctuary, she takes on a false identity to investigate and meets the young pastor of a local church—the very man she’d loved as a troubled teenager. As she gets closer to finding the suspect, will the truth of her own past come out before she discovers the identity of the criminal—or the very person she’s seeking puts a fatal stop to her investigation?

My Take:

Nancy Mehl created strong characters with thick layers. Sophie’s ambitious and not all that likable at the beginning, but she seems to have genuine regret for the manipulations she utilizes. With the hints of her past, she shows a passion to prove herself. She’s come so far and this news story could make all the difference in her future… and her worth, in her own eyes.

Pastor Jonathan Weise, is also deeply sculpted. What a hero! Even though he’s a committed Christian, he’s a bit of a lost soul. He’s found his way to Sanctuary, but he’s not found everything he seems to need. When a beautiful blonde named Emily visits his little town, his life begins to change and take on a new, more protective role.

But the romance and the arcs of the characters are only part of this story. Nancy Mehl has her pacing and timing perfected in this plot. The story twisted and turned every time I thought I knew what was going on. The ending completely surprised me, both in action and explanation. Seriously, I dropped my jaw. I did not see it coming at all! Don’t you love it when that happens? 🙂

My favorite part of the book was the way the author wove in the Truth. Most of the information came from the pastor. His words teared me up so that I couldn’t even see the words on the page. When a story can give such delight and still inspire with words of faith, I’m all over it! Kudos to Nancy Mehl for another outstanding read!

Your Turn: Want my copy of Rising Darkness for yourself? You know you do! Visit the interview that I did with Nancy Mehl and leave a comment (WITH your email address) at that post. (You can leave a comment here if you want—I always love a chat—but the interview is the giveaway spot!) Here’s a direct link!

Author: Marji Laine

Marji is a recently "graduated" homeschooling mom whose twin girls have blessed her by sticking around the nest for a little longer. She spends her days directing the children’s music program at her church and working with the authors of Write Integrity Press to put out the best possible version of their books. Raised in suburban Dallas, she got her first taste of writing through the stories of brilliant authors of their day, Mignon Eberhart and Phyllis A. Whitney, and through stage experience. After directing and acting in productions for decades, Marji started writing her own scripts. From that early beginning, she delved into creating scintillating suspense with a side of Texas sassy. She invites readers to unravel their inspiration, seeking a deeper knowledge of the Lord’s Great Mystery that invites us all.

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