I am always on the lookout for more authors who write good mysteries. I get very excited when I not only find a good mystery, but one set in Grand Rapids. Ok, so that second thing is rare, but it is exciting to find a good mystery. Zachary Bartels lives in Lansing, MI and is very familiar with the Grand Rapids area. So for him to set his book here was not a big stretch, but it sure made it fun to read Playing Saint.
Parker Saint is getting just what he thinks he deserves, as mega church leader, soon to release a blockbusting book, and soon to be celebrity. He loves living the dream. But suddenly his life takes a left turn and throws him right in the middle of a scandal that could take it all away from him. At the police station one of the detectives offers him a deal he can’t refuse. Be a consultant on a case that is plaguing the police department or they will break the scandal to the news.
Soon Parker finds himself trying to answer religious questions that he has no idea how to answer. As he is drawn into a murder mystery unlike any the city has ever seen and hopes to never see again, Parker finds himself fearing for his life and wondering about his faith and the faith of his father.
Fast paced, adventuresome and somewhat chilling, Playing Saint was a very interesting first novel. It was fun to follow Parker around town and to try to figure out the clues before the killer is revealed. I won’t tell you where I figured it out, but Zachery does a good job of laying clues, but also deception on what is a clue and what you think should be a clue. Sometimes our own prejudices are used against us and make us jump to conclusions we should not. I found myself falling into that trap a couple of times and having to remind myself, it usually isn’t that easy.
I am looking forward to the next installment of Parker Saint – preacher, detective. Ok I hope there is a next installment. Tell me there is please….
P.S. Zachery Bartels will be in Baker on Oct. 30that 7:00p.m. speaking about and signing his book.
P.P.S. For those of you not from Grand Rapids, we are not a hot bed for murder and mayhem. Just wanted you to know.