Faith, Hope, and Murder
A Community of Faith Mystery
Elise M. Stone
published by Civano Press 2013
Sometimes life throws you a curve ball. Faith Andersen gets tossed hers when the married man she’s been sleeping with, her boss, announces that her job in Tucson has evaporated like a puddle in the desert. So too has their relationship. To take her mind off it, while she looks for another job, Faith accepts a request from her friend Hope to help a stranger with a legal issue. Ursula, a German woman, is trying desperately to prove her fiance is not a murderer. The unraveling of this who-dun-it, leads Faith down a road where she encounters the underbelly of society in Tucson, and she begins to question Ursula’s motives.
Pastor John Menard is a man who has been getting his fair share of lousy pitches lately as well. His wife has left him and now wants to leave town, he’s in the middle of a church scandal, and if that weren’t enough, the church councillors would like to send him packing. Its here he meets Faith, a self stated non believer, who John finds attractive even though he knows its not the best time for a relationship.
As the story unfolds the Faith struggles not only with her new found feelings for John, but also finds herself thinking that she should have left sleuthing for clues to the professionals. Can she solve the mystery before she’s in to deep?
This is Elise Stone’s first published work, and for a first novel, I think she scored well.
The story focuses on Faith Andersen, web designer, who when the story opens finds herself out of a job, and losing the married man she’s been sleeping with. Faith is struggling not only with a bad choice in a relationship, but with her own faith (small f) in God and his plan for her. What better time to meet a handsome Pastor, who is in need of some web designing. The two find they have some feelings for each other, and both have some issues that make the possible romance a good read in itself. Fortunately, Stone doesn’t doom the reader to a Harlequin pick of the week, as she brings to life an equally interesting mystery surrounding the murder of Carlos Fuentes who prior to his untimely demise sold Mexicans dreams of a better life in America and left them with only nightmares in an Arizona desert. Faith sets off to help the German woman Ursula prove that Ursula’s now imprisoned fiancé is innocent.
Kudos to Stone for being able to tell this one without a lot of profanity which seems to fill far too many current novels. Its nice, to find those books that are able to tell a decent story without every other word starting with the letter “F”. The plot unfolds at a good pace and there’s a lot packed into the 210-218 pages. Stone’s descriptive style, make the background and characters come to life, and you get a good feel for the setting. It’s well thought out and the plot elements related to the mystery fit well together.
When reading the title one might worry that it would be a “preachy“ piece, and while the book does deal with belief in God, and sends some very clear messages; it feels well balanced with the other elements of the story. Overall, however, Stone pulled together a well written piece with most of the bells and whistles you’d look for in a mystery. If you enjoy a decent mystery, and don’t mind a book with a message, then this is one to pick up.
The cover while attractive, did not seem the best fit for the novel. With so many beautiful landscapes in Arizona it seems a waste to not have incorporated it in some way into the cover artwork.
I’m giving this one a B. – Definitely a good read, and worth picking up.
This book would have rated higher for this reader, except that a few of plot elements seemed unnecessary by the end of the book. The author while bringing the main story to a resolution, seems to have neglected some of the smaller pieces leaving a few unanswered loose ends
Elise M Stone was born and raised in New York, and attended college in Michigan. She holds degrees in Psychology and computers. After spending time in Boston she moved to Tucson. Her resume includes, pizza maker, library clerk, waitress, social worker and programmer.
Faith Hope And Murder is her first published work, and she looks forward to writing a sequel in 2013.
To learn more about Elise check out her site at http://www.elisemstone.com