Monday, April 25, 2011

Review: The Reluctant Detective by Martha Ockley

Faith Morgan, a newly ordained clergywoman, is checking out a new parish when on her first visit, the priest is killed while administrating communion. Because she is also a former policewoman, Faith quickly finds herself involved in the investigation to find the murderer while also tending to the needs of the church. Her own faith is tested as she sees more and more the cruel things man can do to each other. Matters are further complicated by the fact that her ex-boyfriend is also the policeman in charge of the case.

I have to admit I was drawn to this book because it featured a woman in the clergy. This is so rare in books and especially books in the Christian fiction market. It's definitely a field where women are still less than fully accepted and I'm always curious to read their points of view in stories. Of course, this was in no way the focus at all in Faith's story which made it even more refreshing. I really ended up enjoying this book a lot.

As a mystery, it was pretty good, I didn't guess the killer way in advance, though I did have my suspicions. (I feel like once you read a few mysteries, there are ways to guess who the killer is early on) But even with that, I genuinely enjoyed the character of Faith and her personal story was really interesting. She came to embrace faith later in life and her decision to leave the police force for her faith was the reason she split with Ben her ex. This conflict was so well drawn and easy to feel. I think it's pretty good skill on the part of the author when you find yourself rooting for a romance even though you know it's a bad idea for both characters at the time. I think/hope Ockley has plans to further develop that in the series. It's an excellent point of conflict. And it's not as simple as "I'm a person of faith, you're not." There were real things that happened and fundamental differences in how they approached their work that drove them apart.

I also loved the way Faith approached her own faith. This is not a book framed by evangelical Christianity so she draws comfort from ritual and liturgy. She's also very open and caring and not at all self-righteous. Also, it should be noted that this is an English there is language some might consider to be cursing and also they drink alcohol with no guilt.

Overall, I really enjoyed this mystery and the character of Faith and I look forward to reading more in the future!

Rating: 4.25/5
Things You Might Want to Know: Christian fiction
Source of Book: Review copy received from publisher
Publisher: Kregal


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