Cases like this were the one reason Linda Turner loved her job. Her dedication and tenaciousness had assured her promotion as the youngest person to attain the rank of captain in the LPD.
G’day friends! Today has been a weird day, not going to lie. I feel like the morning went super quickly and I have done absolutely nothing. I’m writing this still in my pyjamas.
Today’s post is a book review of a newly released crime novel, Salvation Station by Kathryn Schleich. It was published on April 10th (TODAY! which is the day in which I am writing and publishing this review) so happy book birthday! Before I delve into the review, as per usual, here is the synopsis of the book from Goodreads:
When committed female police captain Linda Turner, haunted by the murders of two small children and their pastor father, becomes obsessed with solving the harrowing case, she finds herself wrapped up in a mission to expose a fraudulent religious organization and an unrepentant killer.
Despite her years of experience investigating homicides for the force, Captain Linda Turner is haunted by the murders of the Hansen family. The two small children, clothed in tattered Disney pajamas, were buried with their father, a pastor, in the flower garden behind a church parsonage in Lincoln, Nebraska. But Mrs. Hansen is nowhere to be found—and neither is the killer.
In St. Louis, the televangelist Ray Williams is about to lose his show—until one of his regular attendees approaches him with an idea that will help him save it. Despite his initial misgivings, Ray agrees to give it a try. He can’t deny his attraction to this woman, and besides, she’d assured him the plan is just—God gave her the instructions in a dream.
Multiple story lines entwine throughout this compelling mystery, delving into the topics of murder, religious faith, and the inherent dangers in blindly accepting faith as truth. While Reverend Williams is swept up in his newfound success and plans for his wedding, Captain Turner can only hope that she and her team will catch the Hansens’ cunning killer—before more bodies surface.
If you know me, you know how much I enjoy sitting down with a good crime/mystery book and just immersing myself wholeheartedly in the story, the mystery and the characters. I think one of the most enjoyable aspects for me is attempting to piece together the evidence, trying to figure out who is lying or who is hiding something slightly more sinister. What I really loved, for instance, about A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh, is that the ‘journey’, so to speak, of the detective trying to find out who the killers were was written in such a way that I was on the edge of my seat attempting to figure out who the killers could be. Salvation Station is a book where there is no mystery as to who is actually doing the crimes, you figure it out immediately. I don’t know if that was on purpose, which would make sense in this case, or another reason.
One of my first initial reactions when reading through this book was that I found the main character, Captain Linda Turner, to be an incredibly interesting and complex woman. I wanted to know more and I also wished that we were able to spend more time in her ‘head’ because she was badass. But instead, the way that this book was written meant that there were varying perspectives from the cast of characters: Linda, Rev. Ray, Jeff, Cole, Buck, Ruth, Emma etc. Even though I understand why there were so many perspectives, I think it took something away from the overall story. Reason being that we don’t really get to spend alot of time, it felt like, with Captain Linda Turner and the investigation. When I read a crime novel, I want to be with the investigation, I want to see the pieces fall into place. But obviously, that is a personal preference.
Going back to my earlier point, I knew who the murderer was within the first 20-30 pages. I don’t know if the obviousness was meant to be written like that but it was. Although authors such as Nora Roberts and sometimes Karen Rose, do use this way of writing mystery (by demonstrating who the killer is in a differing perspective, either through the eyes of the murderer or someone close to them), it’s written in a way that makes the reader still on edge with what that character will choose to do – since as the reader you know that they are a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. In this case, that overall feeling was what I felt was missing from the story. When I found out who the killer was – before the investigation itself was really doing anything substantial – I found the story to be slightly boring? I was not as engaged with the story, although I did want to see the killer taken to justice which she was THANKFULLY. The ending also could have been extended, I felt that the last 20 or so pages went extremely quickly, considering the build up we had leading up to it so, even though I was happy that the killer was brought to justice, I didn’t necessarily feel satisfied with how it happened.
I also wish that the romantic sub-plot between Linda and Malachai was slightly more developed for the readers, because that relationship was super cute and I would have loved to see more ‘on-screen’ time to see how that friendship turned into a relationship – with more of the chemistry and tension.
Overall though, it was a solid book and one I would recommend to those who want to sit down for a quick crime novel. The context of the murders is incredibly interesting and I enjoyed how there was almost a conversation about the corruption of televangelists, the place of religion vs. faith. I give this book a 3 out of 5 stars.
I just want to quickly thank the publishers for providing me with a free copy of Salvation Station in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
Until next time, take care and happy reading!
All the love,
About the Author:
Kathryn Schleich has been a writer for thirty years. Her most recent publications include the short story “Reckless Acts,” featured in After Effects: A Zimbell House Anthology, and her story “Grand Slam,” published in The Acentos Review in May 2017. She is the author of two editions of the book Hollywood and Catholic Women: Virgins, Whores, Mothers, and Other Images, which evolved from her master’s thesis. Her guest posts have been featured on the Women On Writing blog, The Muffin, and she writes for the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation’s volunteer newsletter. When she’s not writing, Schleich is likely volunteering in the education and arts communities in the Twin Cities, where she lives. Friends, family, good food, wine, and traveling are important aspects of her life. Salvation Station is her first novel. It is available for sale on Amazon.