PERILOUS SHADOWS by Nike Chillemi

Reviewed by Tammy Doherty –

Book #3 in the Sanctuary Point series sees the return of Argus Nye. This time, he’s the hero of the story. Don’t worry if you haven’t read the first two novels in this series, though previous plots and characters are referenced, these novels are each individual and enjoyable on their own.

In the opening chapter of PERILOUS SHADOWS, a body is discovered in the supply closet at WSAN radio station where Argus works. Beautiful, vivacious intern, Clarissa Vreeland, is dead of a broken neck. Station manager Jim Heaney puts Argus on the case even as the police investigate. Argus juggles his desire for justice with the need for news for his radio broadcasts.

Kiera Devane is a newspaper reporter swiftly making a name for herself as a woman working in a man’s world. Unfortunately, that name isn’t all good. Though her skills as an investigative reporter are mostly respected, people say she’s cold-hearted. Kiera struggles with demons from the past that cause her to keep people at arms’ length.

Kiera and Argus join forces to solve Clarissa’s murder. Ever the gentleman, Argus finds himself attracted to Kiera. He wants to protect her from not only physical threats that arise during the investigation but also from emotional pain, past and present. Kiera is drawn to Argus through his kindness and friendship. The budding romance is firmly established when Argus learns Kiera’s terrible secret—and isn’t turned off.

PERILOUS SHADOWS is set in post WWII 1940’s. Ms. Chillemi does a nice job of describing fashions of the time and accurately portraying people’s attitudes and morals. The reader is immersed in the era with a movie quality feel. Despite her “ice princess” reputation, Kiera is immediately likeable; it’s easy to identify with both her ambition and drive as well as her fears. Angus is loveable, yet it’s almost difficult to imagine someone so chivalrous, which is a sad reflection of society today. He’s not too perfect to be true, though. His temper nearly gets him in hot water several times and his unwillingness to report scandalous material allows Kiera to get “the scoop” occasionally.

Red herrings abound in this novel. The mystery is masterfully developed and the list of suspects grows with each turn. Who killed Clarissa and why? Was it lecherous Paul Gregorski, Angus’ co-worker? Or Edward Harper, spurned ex-boyfriend? Perhaps Paul’s new wife killed Clarissa in a fit of jealous rage. Then again, it could be someone else yet undiscovered. The trail of clues seems to clearly lead in one direction only to peter-out. The end has a surprising twist.

Book Review: Double Minds

Book Review: Double Minds
Written by Terri Blackstock
Reviewed by Nike Chillemi –

In Double Minds, there’s a lot of deceit going on in the Nashville Christian recording community — even murder. Here’s a novel in which author Terri Blackstock doesn’t shy away from presenting Christian characters with all their warts.

Songwriter/singer Parker James, who’s day job is a receptionist position at Colgate Studios is stunned when a young college intern turns up murdered at her desk. Parker wonders if she was the intended victim, but can’t figure why that would be. As it turns out Parker’s brother Gibson is one of the detectives in charge of the murder investigation.

Gibson who moonlights as a studio musician is getting it from both ends. The chief of police wants to remove him from the investigation because the murder happened at his sister’s place of employment. Most annoying to Gibson, his little sister Parker keeps sticking her nose into the investigation.

I enjoyed the character of Parker James as crafted by the author. Her internal conflicts come across as authentic. Parker, totally sold out to the Lord, struggles with desires all Christians face. She’d like to make something of herself, yet she’s been asked to water down some of her Christian lyrics. Since the Christian singing sensation asking her to change the title song into a romantic love story is her best friend, Parker complies. The Lord moves in mysterious ways. The change in lyrics helps to pinpoint the exact time the murder victim broke into Parker’s laptop and stole the previous, Christian version of the song. Who says God’s not in charge?

In Double Minds the reader is introduced to the not-so-lovely side of the Christian recording industry. There is theft of intellectual property (Parker’s songs), a singer starving herself to present the sleek image her manager and producer want her to have, inventive ways to get around the laws against payola, rumor mongering, and murder. Of course, there are wonderful Christian characters walking with the Lord throughout this novel as well.

The character of Serene, the Christian contemporary music star is less than sympathetic. We’re given a glimpse of her abusive upbringing, but that never compensated for her narcissism and manipulative behavior. Perhaps the reader could have used a more in depth look at Serene’s early relationship with her abusive father in order to have more compassion for this character. At any rate, I was happy that after being the victim of a shooting near the end of the novel, this character decides she wants to live and not kill herself slowly via anorexia.

Perhaps the brightest aspect of this novel is the portrayal of the Parker family. With all of its flaws (the alcoholism of the father being one), led by a godly mother, the family members demonstrate powerful love for each other. They pray together, stick together, and have each other’s backs; even the hard drinking patriarch, as much as he can. I appreciated the very real portrayal of Christians and the impact they have on the lives of others in this novel.

Book Review: Texas Roads

Written by Cathy Bryant –
Review by Nike Chillemi –

Texas Roads does not disappoint. There are enough secrets in this intriguing debut novel by Cathy Bryant to keep any mystery lover turning pages. Read more

Book Review: The Right Call

Written by Kathy Herman –
Reviewed by Nike Chillemi –

Gambling is a terrible addiction. That’s what Steadman Reeves finds out in Kathy Herman’s well crafted novel The Right Call. Steadman falls over the edge, pulling others with him into the pit. Luckily, he doesn’t lose everything. Others are not so lucky and they pay the ultimate price. Read more

Book Review: Face of Betrayal

Written by Lis Wiehl and April Henry –
Reviewed by Nike Chillemi –

Face of Betrayal (A Triple Threat Novel) by Lis Wiehl and April Henry had resonance with me because I’ve stayed close to the girl who lived next door to me when I was I child. In fact, I sent her this political thriller for Christmas. Read more

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