Book Review: "Deadly Charm" by Claudia Mair Burney

When the ominous Thunders roll into Dr. Amanda Bell Brown's town, the sassy sleuth sees a storm brewing. Disgraced playboy preacher Ezekiel Thunder and his seductive first lady, Nikki, are on the comeback trail, but Bell is less than charmed by the pair. When their toddler, Baby Zeekie, is found dead from an accidental drowning, forensic psychologist Bell suspects foul play in the fatal family, especially after the mama in mourning flirts with Bell's estranged husband, Jazz. Bell is sickened by the woman's behavior and the thought of someone murdering an innocent child -- or is it morning sickness that's plaguing her? Between babies and bodies, she pushes past the limits to discover the deadly truth.

As a huge fan of the other books in the Amanda Bell Brown mystery series, I have been looking forward to the long awaited released of the third book in the series. My eagerness was not in vain as this was another outstanding book from Burney. I don't think she's written one that I haven't liked yet. What I've always liked about the author's books is her boldness to take Christian fiction in places it's scared to go. Subjects like questioning religious practices, interracial dating and sex are brought up in this book with no sense of shame or timidity. Edgy is the word to describe most of this book and if you're looking for tame, meek Christian fiction, you won't find it here.

The mystery storyline in this book mainly deals with the death of the young son of a famous TV preacher and the suspicious nature surrounding the events. I will admit, if there's any fault with the book, it's that you have a feeling you already know what happened, you're just not 100% sure about it. However even more interesting than that, is the evangelist's teachings and his so called practices that don't mirror what he preaches. The methods used by his followers are scary to say the least. I don't blame Bell and Jazz one bit for being freaked out. I'm also not quite sure why in the world Rocky, Bell's ex and still a good friend, is friends with this guy and why he wanted to bring her there. Another plot line is the turbulent relationship between Bell and Jazz as they try to patch things up but keep bumbling along the way. I really liked it because it's very real and honest, with pain and hurt feelings that come along due to actions the two have made in the past.

Once again I really enjoyed this book and it's ability to push things to the edge. It's very refreshing to read about events that really happen in real life and to face and confront them without hiding them away. Plus, this book is also a really fun read. I have always loved the chemistry between Bell and Jazz and it's very evident in this book. I really hope we'll see more adventures from them in the future. If' you're looking for a really good multi-cultural series to read and like a bit of mystery in your books, this is the perfect series for you.

Deadly Charm by Claudia Mair Burney is published by Howard (2009)


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