Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Carrie Stuart Parks: When Death Draws Near

By Kelly Bridgewater

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 there, Gwen turn her attention to a second assignment: going undercover in a serpent-handling church. She could get a handsome reward for uncovering illegal activity there—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.
From Amazon

My Review:

I have thoroughly enjoyed both of Carrie Stuart Parks first books in the Gwen Marcey series A Cry from the Dust and The Bones Will Speak. Both stories take a past cancer survivor and throw her in the perils of danger. With the addition of When Death Draws Near, I felt that Parks does a good job tying this story in with the other two.

Parks writes her novels in the first person point of view. This is a hard perspective to write the story in because as an author, they might want to jump around into the other characters heads, but they aren't allowed to. I don't remember any moment that Parks jumps into another characters viewpoint. What I really like about the first point of view for Gwen is that Parks really made her a human. What I mean is that she struck a chord with me. Parks allowed her to be angry at God. As a Christian, I can still follow God and believe in him, but there are moments where I question God's choices for my life. I'm glad to see Gwen do the same thing. I really enjoyed seeing Gwen's thought process of worry. It rang true. I became more empathized with Gwen for her situation.

Parks took a different route with her novels. In the first novel, A Cry from the Dust, she discussed the Mormon faith, and in The Bones Will Speak, she features a Neo-Nazi group. In When Death Draws Near, she jumps right into a snake handling cult that uses the Bible to back up its practices.  While the novel does not put down these beliefs, Parks researched and studied what makes their practices so appealing to others. Parks shows if the world's preconceived notions are right or wrong. She doesn't lead me down a road to persuade me. Instead she shows the facts and allows me to make my own decision.

While I loved returning to such a strong heroine as Gwen, I really enjoyed that in this final book she might get her chance at happiness. For the past two books, even this one, I watched as Gwen struggled with the onset of her ex-husband, Robert, and her teenage daughter, and the cancer that destroyed her appearance, but during When Death Draws Near, she learns to silence Robert's critical voice, connect with her daughter, and learn to open her heart at the chance of romance. The plot moved at a nice pace, and I really had a hard time putting the book down, which unfortunately, I had to do a lot. Even the bad guy came out of the left field. I did not guess the right person.

Unique and different, Carrie Stuart Parks newest novel When Death Draws Near taught me about preconceived notions, showed me more of the human side of Gwen, and kept my attention on the plot.  I really enjoyed When Death Draws Near. I hope there is another book in Gwen's life that I will be able to enjoy.

I received a complimentary copy of When Death Draws Near from Thomas Nelson Publishing and the opinions stated are all my own. 

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars



Last week, I gave away a physical copy of DiAnn Mills' Deadly Encounters.

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