Closing her assignment with the FBI's Seattle office, forensic geologist Raleigh Harmon returns to her hometown of Richmond, Virginia, expecting a warm welcome. Instead she finds herself investigating an ugly cross burning at a celebrity's mansion and standing in the crosshairs of her boss at the Bureau. And the deeper Raleigh digs into the case, the murkier the water becomes...until she's left wondering who the real victims might be. To make matters worse, Raleigh's personal life offers almost zero clarity. Her former confidant is suddenly remote while her former boyfriend keeps popping up wherever she goes. And then there's her mother. Raleigh's move home was supposed to improve Nadine's fragile sanity, but instead seems to be making things worse. As the threads of the case begin crossing and double-crossing, Raleigh is forced to rely on her forensic skills, her faith, and the fervent hope that breakthrough will come, bringing with it that singular moment when the clouds roll away and everything finally makes sense.
As someone who lives in Virginia, I always enjoy books that take place in the state. I really enjoy it when the author chooses an actual location in the state and either does research or knows the area already instead of making stuff up. Sibella Giorello brings Richmond and the rest of Virginia alive in this latest Raleigh Harmon adventure.
While I don't enjoy the topic itself, I really appreciated how this book deals with racism and hate crimes. It's a topic that is rarely mentioned in Christian fiction so seeing it brought up here and in a way that doesn't leave for a tidy ending was enlightening. Giorello doesn't showcase the people in a stereotypical way but does focus on views that are sadly popular in certain parts of the country. However the whole topic of race relations is very interesting and I liked how Raleigh is able to to just blend in with all the characters. Giorello does a very good job with showing urban culture. She did her research and didn't make it sound like it was an outsider just making assumptions.
As with the previous book, I really enjoyed how Raleigh is a no nonsense, non girly character. She can totally take care of herself and does not need a man to rely on. In fact that is a highlight of the book, the fact that there is no romance in the story at all. It is so refreshing to read a book that does not include any sort of romance at all. Unfortunately, this book also shares my sentiments with the last book where I felt the ending to be of a let down. I just felt the whole story was building up to the conclusion and I felt it to be rather abrupt in ending. I also felt a bit like the story with Raleigh's mom didn't really conclude.
Even though this is the third book in the series, it can be read completely as a standalone. In fact I still haven't read the first book and I don't feel lost at all. The story is full of suspense and action yet drives home with a resounding message. I think Raleigh is one of my favorite female heroines and I would love to read more about her in the future.
The Clouds Roll Away by Sibella Giorello is published by Thomas Nelson (2010)
This review copy was provided for a blog tour with LitFuse Publicity
Other stops on the tour can be found here
Contest: Sibella’s celebrating the release of The Clouds Roll Away by giving away a KINDLE prize pack worth over $150.00!
One Grand Prize winner will receive:
* Latest Generation KINDLE with Wi-Fi
* $25 gift certificate to Amazon.com
To enter simply click on one of the icons below! Then tell your friends! Winner will be announced January 3, 2011 on Sibella's blog: http://sibellagiorello.blogspot.com/.