Saturday, August 6, 2016

When Death Draws Near, by Carrie Stuart Parks

When I read the blurb about When Death Draws Near and saw that it was about "snake-handling churches", I was intrigued. I am scared to death of snakes, but I'm a little fascinated by them. I've wondered what those churches are really like, and what they teach. I'm also fascinated by forensics, so choosing this book to review was easy. 

I had never read anything by Carrie Stuart Parks, so I was anxious to see if her style was similar to Terri Blackstock's (my favorite suspense author). In a lot of ways, it was. Here are the things I enjoyed:

  • The book was definitely a page-turner.
  • There were few slow spots. 
  • I was kept guessing about the culprit until the end of the book.
  • Gwen has struggled with cancer, and I found out later that the author herself is a cancer survivor. This thread, though not a main theme in the book, was especially well written. 
  • This is the third book in the Gwen Marcey series, but there were only a couple of times when I felt a little confused because I hadn't read the first two. It really wasn't a problem. 

The things I didn't like are these: 

  • The humor seemed forced and out of place at times.
  • I never fully "connected" with the main character. Gwenflip-flops all over the place. One minute, she's calm, cool, collected, and all business, suspecting a certain person of being the serial rapist, and the next, she's fawning and helpless, a damsel in distress, blushing every time he looks at her. Speaking of him, He goes from being incredibly rude to thoughtful and romantic...and back again. He is impossible to figure out. 
  • During one tense, pivotal moment in the book, a character says something that is ridiculously out of place for what was happening. 
  • At one point, the members of the church are introducing Gwen to everyone, and not long afterward, they're saying that they never use names because it's too dangerous. 
All in all, I enjoyed the book and will probably read more of this author's books. 

3 out of 5 stars. 

Book Description: 

Gwen Marcey takes death in stride. Until she’s faced with her own mortality.

Forensic artist Gwen Marcey is between jobs when she accepts temporary work in Pikeville, Kentucky—a small town facing big-city crime. But before Gwen can finish her first drawing of the serial rapist who is on the loose, the latest witness vanishes. Just like all the others.

Gwen suspects a connection between the rapist and the “accidental” deaths that are happening around town, but the local sheriff has little interest in her theories. When her digitally-obsessed teenage daughter joins her, Gwen turns her attention to a second assignment: going undercover in a serpent-handling church. She could get a handsome reward for uncovering illegal activity—a reward she desperately needs, as it seems her breast cancer has returned. But snakes aren’t the only ones ready to kill. Can Gwen uncover the truth—and convince anyone to believe her—before she becomes a victim herself?

In a thrilling race against time, When Death Draws Near plunges us into cold-case murders, shady politics, and a den of venomous suspects.

Read more info about the author here.

I received this this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. 

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