Thursday, April 11, 2013

Book Review: Whispers of the Bayou by Mindy Starns Clark

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Interesting characters and vivid writing
Cons: Pacing
The Bottom Line:
Slightly off pacing
Hardly detracts from great book
It will suck you in

Miranda Faces Her Past

I think it took me one book to fall in love with Mindy Starns Clark's books. I eagerly await each new release from her, and couldn't wait to read her new stand alone, Whispers of the Bayou. It was another good read.

Miranda Miller thought she had her life together. She enjoys her job as an art restorer. She's married to a nice guy with a great 5 year old daughter. She's living life in the fast lane in New York City and loving it.

But all that changes on day. First, a man comes in with a painting he wants restored. Yet he seems more interested in a strange symbol on it then the painting itself. Then she is attacked while walking to meet her aunt for lunch. Yet the men leave her alone after examining her scalp.

As if that weren't strange enough, Miranda's Aunt Janet tells her that Willy Pedreaux wants to see her before he dies. Willy was the caretaker of Miranda's grandparent's estate in Louisiana. But Miranda hasn't been there since her mother died when Miranda was 5 years old. What secret could Willy possibly have to tell her? And will going back dredge up all kind of painful memories?

Believe it or not, I have only described the opening 30 pages of the 340 page novel. Yes, that's how quickly it starts. I was soon caught up in the action, looking forward to a thrilling read. Unfortunately, the story bogs down once Miranda reaches Louisiana. For about 100 pages or so, the story doesn't really get anywhere. Things pick up again in the second half, and the last 100 pages held plenty of surprises and thrills. The ending was a little too convenient; it would have worked better if there had been more time to develop it.

Even when the story was slow, the characters kept me interested in the proceedings. Miranda has some serious issues to work through over the course of the story, and I found myself drawn to her struggles. She meets some truly remarkable characters over the course of the story, and each one of them seems real.

Mindy Starns Clark writes Christian fiction, and this book is no exception. However, the Christian aspect wasn't as prevalent as normal. While that surprised me, I found the sub-plot believable and perfect for this story.

The writing style in Mindy's early books was a little rough. They are readable and enjoyable, but not as polished as most of the authors I read. This book shows just how far she has come from those early days. The writing is smooth and vivid. The descriptions of Louisiana made me feel like I was really there. It is a real joy to see how far she has come.

Yes, the pacing could have been better, but overall I did enjoy this novel. Whispers of the Bayou is sure to please the author's many fans and anyone looking for a good mystery.

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