Claudia Mair Burney
Howard (Simon & Schuster), Mar 24 2009, $24.95
Psychologist Amanda Bell Brown has lost the two men she loved most in her life. Her husband Jazz walked out on her after seeing her kiss her Pastor Rocky shorty after making love on their wedding night. Rocky who loves Bell told her not to come to his church any longer because he is heartsick and feeling betrayed as she failed to mention she was married. Six weeks later Rocky arrives at Bell’s home to ask her to accompany him to the revivals meeting of Ezekiel Thunder who fell off his pedestal when the media revealed his affairs with several women.
At the meeting in a run down building, Bell meets Ezekiel’s little son Zeekie, who has an effect on her as she falls in love with him. When he dies while taking a bath, Bell immediately believes he was murdered. Jazz, who wants to reconnect with his wife, pleads with her not to investigate as she is carrying a miracle that her doctor said was medically impossible; he fears she will ignore him and her pregnancy as he knows her history (see MURDER, MAYHEM AND A FINE MAN and DEATH, DECEIT AND SOME SMOOTH JAZZ). Bell seeks evidence to nail a killer whom she believes is not finished murdering.
An Amanda bell Brown amateur sleuth is always a special treat as she is a fascinating character. She has a strong belief in God, but with free will deems some will choose the darkest path including the predator who killed Zeekie; thus she seeks proof though that places her in danger. Bell is an interesting person filled with inner strength yet is also very vulnerable to those she loves. Jazz is her perfect match as he fearlessly displays his love for her. Inside a terific whodunit is a fabulous family drama.