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    Review of A SMALL CASE OF MURDER by Lauren Carr (see her website)

    iUniverse, May 2004

    After the death of his wife, lawyer Joshua Thornton brings his children back to his native West Virginia where he intends to set up a law practice. But from the moment he steps into his new office, he begins discovering clues to a wave of crime that has held the town in fear for decades--a crime wave associated with murder, the drug trade, and intimately connected to the largest church in town. But a lawyer has to eat--and the criminals control the police and prosecutors in their county. What can one man do against the power and evil he faces?

    As Thornton starts digging into the case, he discovers that a string of strange deaths have been associated with the Rev. Rawlings. The minister's wife, his daughter-in-law, Thornton's own parents and their friend Lulu, and a strange and unidentified man discovered by teenagers on prom night are all dead. If anything, death strikes more quickly once Thornton arrives with Rawlings' own granddaughter the next victim--pierced through the heart with a steel stake. Along with his recovering alcoholic cousin, Tad, Thornton will have to move quickly if he doesn't want to be the next victim--or put his children in danger.

    Author Lauren Carr delivers an intriguing mystery--plenty of murder, a dark secret, criminals with powerful political connections, and a twist at the end. Carr's writing is strong and engaging. The story could have been stronger, however, if Thornton had done less talking and more action. The long interogation scenes seem like throwbacks to Perry Mason. Also, it could be just me, but I wish the characters had smiled and chuckled a bit less when they talked. After a while, it started to pull me out of the story.

    There is a strong element of faith involved in the story. Thornton's quest is more than that of a lawyer seeing the truth, to a real degree, he is also fighting evil.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 7/26/04

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