06 February 2010

Rhapsody in Red by Donn Taylor

This is a "Preston Barclay Mystery" published by Moody in 2009.

Donn Taylor nails the politics of small universities, particularly those that are in transition. Having worked in faculty positions in a medical school and a small and a medium sized regional college and university I found myself laughing out loud at the antics of his characters. I enjoy a good mystery about three times a year or so and normally I turn to the Higgins Clarks, mother and daughter. However, some of the stories in these secular books have been so creepy that I have been watching for a Christian mystery writer for these forays out of the historical fiction realm.

Dr. Preston Barclay finds himself in the middle of a murder investigation, along with a younger Wiccan faculty member. Characterization is definitely unique, with Professor Barclay having musical hallucinations. His cast of characters all have a distinct voice and are all well-developed without being distracting. Taylor does an excellent job of fitting the music to the characters and scenes. The plot took a lot of great twists and turns and Taylor definitely knows how to pull the reader along with him. I was planning to go to sleep at ten last night but HAD to finish the book. A little after one, I closed the book, satisfied with an ending that nicely tied off all the plot strings. This would be a great book for: Christian mystery readers, faculty members of universities (who will shout "someone really understands!!"), and those looking for a well-written Christian book with a delightful male character as well as a strong female protagonist.

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