This is, I believe, the fourth book in a series about an FBI geologist named Raleigh Harmon, written by Sibella Giorello. The first thing I will say is that you do not need to read the previous installments to make sense of this one, which is great since I haven’t read them. There was enough characterization and background info to go on in just this one, although clearly some relationships and personal details would make more sense if one has the full picture. So, kudos to Giorello for striking the delicate balance between not boring seasoned readers with too much background and not losing new ones in vague hints at the past.

Anyway, this is a mystery (as are the others in the series) and is well-written, especially considering its placement in the “Christian fiction” genre. My husband likes to quote someone as saying that Christian has become an adjective for sub-par (in pretty much any artistic endeavor) and unfortunately I tend to agree, so it is refreshing to stumble across some fiction with interesting, layered characters. The story takes place while Raleigh is on “vacation” on an Alaskan cruise, except obviously she ends up working instead of vacationing. And mercifully, Giorello takes it easy on the “Christian” part – Raleigh’s faith is more hinted at than preached. I for one appreciate this; I dislike being preached at through my leisure reading. If I want a sermon I go to an actual church, or possibly listen to a podcast.

My only complaint is that some of the conversations were hard to follow. For example, there would be a narrative paragraph and then a conversation, but it would just be quotes – no “she said” or “noted Jack” or whatever to enable the reader to discern who said what, so that after five or six lines you’re left wondering what just happened. Sometimes you can figure it out, sometimes not. A few plot points feel rushed, like all of a sudden there’s a chase going on and you’re trying to figure out why, or the characters seem to have reached a conclusion and you have no idea what the conclusion is. But overall, the book is very readable. I am even interested in reading the preceding 3 novels! So that is saying something.

Here is a link to the book on Amazon
Here is a link to the rest of the blog tour
And most importantly, here is a link where you can enter to win a cruise, given away by the author

This book was provided for review by the LitFuse Publicity Group.