Saturday, January 23, 2010

'The Last Word' by Kathy Herman - Book Review

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Kathy Herman is a prolific author of Christian suspense fiction novels.  ‘The Last Word’ is the second novel in the Sophie Trace Trilogy.  I have not read the first book, ‘The Real Enemy,’ but it was not necessary to have read that book to appreciate this book.  ‘The Last Word’ stands on its own.

Here is the book trailer:

The Sophie Trace Trilogy follows the Jessup family of Sophie Trace, Tennessee.  Sophie Trace, which is a fictional town, is set in the Great Smoky Mountains in the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge vicinity, on the North Carolina border.  The mother, Brill Jessup, is the chief of the Sophie Trace Police Department.  She previously served eighteen stellar years on the Memphis Police Department as a detective.  She has been married for twenty years to Kurt, who is the owner of a chain of five quick copy stores called SpeedWay.  They have three children – Ryan, a pre-law student at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Vanessa, a sophomore at the University of Memphis and Emily, the baby of the family at age ten.

There are several interesting subplots in this novel.  Vanessa returned home for the summer after her sophomore year seven months pregnant – without advising her parents in advance.   The father of the baby is her psychology professor.  Vanessa has decided to give life to the baby, but returns home unsure whether or not to keep the baby.  Another subplot is a killer on the loose.  This murderer kills a member of Chief Jessup’s department, and also kills a member of her previous department, the Memphis PD.  And he warns several people that Chief Jessup is next.  And the mayor of Sophie Trace is placing the blame on the chief for many of the city problems that have happened since she took over as chief (despite all of her exemplary work).

I will not give up any plot points, but suffice to say that Kathy Herman is masterful in her storytelling skills.  I finished this novel hungering to follow the further adventures of the Jessup family.  And I was excited to see that the trilogy’s setting was in the Great Smoky Mountains, one of my favorite parts of these United States

I was happy to see Ms. Herman weave the Gospel throughout the story.  She does a wonderful job showing the stages that an unwed mother (who is a Christian and was raised in a Christian family) goes through when she has to reconcile herself to her actions and accept (or reject) the forgiveness that is offered to her by the Lord.  In addition, Chief Jessup shows love and compassion for her fellow man when she could have easily fallen into the human emotions of revenge and bitterness.  Instead, she followed the will of her Heavenly Father.

Kathy Herman has written several bestselling novels over the years.  This is the first time I have read, and was absolutely delighted with it!  The hallmarks of a great novel are that 1) you want to keep turning the pages to learn where the story is going, and 2) you are sorry when you reach the last page!

The third novel in the trilogy, ‘The Right Call,’ will be released by David C. Cook in March 2010.  I am glad that I will not have to wait very long for the answers to the questions that lingered at the end of this book!  

You can order this book here.

This book was published by David C. Cook and provided to me by the B & B Media Group for review purposes.

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