Monday, March 25, 2013

Book Review: The Lies of Saints by Sigmund Brouwer (Nick Barrett #3)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Layered mystery with great characters
Cons: None
The Bottom Line:
Final in series
Still as strong as the first one
You won't put it down

Sigmund Brouwer Brings His Nick Barrett Mysteries to a Close

I don't know why I never read this series sooner. I've loved Sigmund Brouwer's books for years. But for some reason, I let these books sit on my shelf unread. That was a mistake because, like almost everything he has written, these books are wonderful.

The Lies of Saints is the final entry in the Nick Barrett Christian mystery series. Nick is from a wealthy family in Charleston, South Carolina. But wealth doesn't protect from murder and other vices, and once again Nick finds himself seeking out the sins that his high society peers are trying to keep secret.

This time, Nick begins investigating when PI Kellie Mixson is involved in a serious car crash. The two are friends, and Kellie asks Nick to help her close out a case she was working. That case involves the 25 year old disappearance of Victoria Sebastian, a former beauty queen who vanished with her infant daughter one night. The police had given up the search years earlier, and the only fresh clue is a phone call that says Victoria's disappearance is linked to some bodies recently found in a crawl space.

The bodies are interesting. The few who have been identified had also vanished without a trace. But some of the bones are 100 years old, some are 25 years old, and some are in between. Yet all appear to have died in an identical manner.

So what is the connection between these bodies and Victoria? Is she one of them?
And will Nick uncover what put Kellie in the hospital?

Since this book is by one of my favorite authors, I went in with high expectations. And they were met. The plot pealed back like an onion, with each layer only leaving me with more questions. I realized when I got to the end that I had more pieces of the puzzle in place then I know, but I was left hanging on ever word until everything was explained.

Nick is a very real character. He has grown over the course of the three books in this series. The emphasis isn't quite as much on him as it was earlier in the series where he was investigating his own past, but he still comes across as very developed. A few characters from previous books pop in and out of this one, adding a bit of color and a few clues. The book features plenty of new characters who are interesting and help keep us captivated by the plot.

The book jumps around some, telling the story in a mostly linear fashion with occasional trips back in time to fill in some gaps. Even though the book is written first person, we are sometimes treated to a scene where Nick isn't present by the ever popular "I found out later" method. Still, these jumps and gaps are handled expertly and I was never lost once.

Along the way, we get occasional musings from Nick about the meaning of life, death, and faith. These never slow the story down and made me think about my own faith and approach to life.

Every time I read one of Sigmund's books, I am reminded just how great a storyteller he is. If you enjoy a good yarn, pick up The Lies of Saints.

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