Faith, desperation and mystery intersect in these novels of inspirational suspense. The faith of these characters is pushed to the limit—while the answers they seek could shake the foundation of all they believe to be true.
If the survival of another person is on the line, would you be able to put someone else’s needs ahead of your own? This challenge of selflessness is at the root of Samuel Parker’s riveting debut, Purgatory Road. Couple Jack and Laura head into the desert to escape the bright lights of Vegas for the day. Expecting a happy reprieve, they instead become stranded and are near death when they’re rescued by a desert hermit. Their rescue soon takes a bewildering turn, however, when the hermit won’t let them return to safety. Interwoven with the couple’s story is a terrifying encounter between a teenage runaway and a desert-town maniac, driven to heinous acts by an outside force, something seemingly held at bay by the very hermit who rescued Jack and Laura. As the two stories converge, the couple realizes that this is more than a desert rescue—it’s a battle between good and evil.
The resilience of Jack and Laura will have readers cheering as this dark thriller reaches its culmination. Though some violent scenes could bother sensitive readers, the convincing struggle between supernatural forces proceeds at a tense and breathless pace. Not for the faint of heart, Purgatory Road is a compelling story that suspense fans are sure to love.
AN IRISH TWIST
Because You’re Mine, bestselling author Colleen Coble’s latest novel, takes readers to picturesque Charleston, South Carolina, where Irish singer Alanna, a rising star in the world of Celtic music, has sought refuge. Her husband Liam was killed in a fiery car explosion, and Liam’s father is demanding custody of her unborn baby. To escape, Alanna accepts a marriage of convenience with her band manager, Barry, who’s from a wealthy Charleston family. Complicating matters is the open hostility other band members feel toward Barry, as well as the fact that Jesse, Liam’s best friend, survived the accident that killed Liam. When menacing events start happening at the opulent but decaying mansion that’s home to her new husband’s family, Alanna delves further into the mystery of Liam’s death.
Alanna’s love for Liam is both touching and heart-rending as she navigates her new life without him. Despite a bit of predictability, the strength of the atmospheric setting and a romance with a divine touch carry the story with ease. The nod to Celtic music adds a beautiful layer to this suspenseful tale of love lost and found.
HER FATHER'S DAUGHTER
The third entry in Sandra Byrd’s Daughters of Hampshire series portrays the life of Gillian Young, a prospering middle-class woman in Victorian England. In A Lady in Disguise, Gillian, an up-and-coming seamstress for ladies of the aristocracy and a costume designer for a famous London theater, uncovers clues that suggest her recently deceased father might have been living a secret life beyond his respected role as an officer with London’s Metropolitan Police. Though her questions about her father’s accidental death are clearly not welcome, Gillian feels there is more to the story than what his longtime partner at the department is telling her. Adding fuel to an already volatile situation, Gillian meets her dashing new neighbor, Viscount Thomas Lockwood. Despite their instant attraction, as the mysteries surrounding her father’s death deepen, she can’t help but wonder if anyone’s motives toward her are truly pure.
Byrd’s award-winning Daughters of Hampshire novels are unique in that they put the focus on women who are viewed with disdain by high society. Though she moves in aristocratic circles at times, Gillian is a woman who works to support herself. (Byrd includes fascinating details about the complexity of Gillian’s tasks as a master seamstress.) The benevolent legacy of Gillian’s deceased mother, an actress devoted to the care of orphans used and discarded by the London theater scene, packs an emotional punch. Gillian’s reliance on faith, her determination to believe the best about her father and her poignant connection with her mother’s ministry add a genuine spiritual element to the story.
Still, suspense stays front and center as Gillian undertakes a harrowing mission of danger and disguise to find her father’s killer. The vivid historical details and thrilling plot make A Lady in Disguise a perfect choice for readers of both historical romance and romantic suspense.