Release date: November 7, 2017
Publisher: Seventh Street Books
Detective Joe “Preach” Everson, a prison chaplain turned police officer, is coming home. After a decade tracking down killers in Atlanta, and with a reputation as one of the finest homicide detectives in the city, his career derailed when he suffered a mental breakdown during the investigation of a serial killer who was targeting children.
No sooner does Preach arrive at home in Creekville, North Carolina–a bohemian community near Chapel Hill–than a local bookstore owner is brutally killed, the first murder in a decade. The only officer with homicide experience, Preach is assigned to the case and makes a shocking discovery: the bookstore owner has been murdered in exactly the same manner as the pawnbroker in Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment.
With the help of Ariana Hale, a law student and bibliophile who knew the victim, Preach investigates the local writer’s community. As their questions increase, a second body is found, this time eerily resembling the crime scene in a famous Edgar Allan Poe novella. Preach and Ariana realize that their adversary is an intelligent, literate killer with a mind as devious as it is disturbed–and one or both of them may be his next target.
What is it about flawed detectives that speaks to my soul? There is something about damaged protagonists with complex and dark pasts that always gets under my skin and Preach wiggled his way into my cold, black heart. Oftentimes a brooding, handsome, complicated cop is a total cliche but for some reason, it didn’t feel that way here. I immediately connected with Preach and was dying to know more about his motivations, his history and what made him the person he is today. Throw in a clever killer and what more can a girl want?!
I absolutely loved the creativity behind the premise for this one, the idea of a killer referencing famous literary works was so intriguing to me. While the case Preach is working has a heavy literary vibe the author didn’t weigh down the text with too many dense, hard to decipher quotes but rather there were a handful of them that enhanced the story and brought a really intelligent aspect to the plot.
This was a good old fashioned police procedural with a subtle sophistication to the authors writing style. The characterization was incredibly strong both in Preach and his fellow officer Kirby and witness Ari. The plotting was super involved and there were a ton of head spinning misdirections that left me reeling. Highly recommended for a cosmopolitan type of reader that wants a classic murder mystery with a literary bent.
Overall rating: 4/5
Thanks to the author for my review copy.