Saturday, April 05, 2008

My Soul To Keep ~ Melanie Wells

My Soul to Keep by Melanie Wells
Genre: Fiction/Suspense – Released 2/19/08 – ISBN 978-1-59052-428-2

FROM THE BACK COVER: As nasty as I knew Peter Terry to be, I never expected him to start kidnapping kids. Much less a sweet, funny little boy with nothing to protect him but a few knock-kneed women, two rabbits, and a staple gun… It’s psychology professor Dylan Foster’s favorite day of the academic year–graduation day. A day of pomp, circumstance, and celebration. And after all the mortar boards are thrown, Dylan and some of her best friends will gather around a strawberry cake to celebrate Christine Zocci’s sixth birthday. But the joyful summer afternoon goes south when a little boy is snatched from a neighborhood park, setting off a chain of events that seem to lead exactly nowhere. Police are baffled, but Christine’s eerie connection with the kidnapped child sends Dylan on a chilling investigation of her own. Is the pasty, elusive stranger Peter Terry to blame? Exploding light bulbs, the deadly buzz of a Texas rattlesnake, and the vivid, disturbing dreams of a little girl are just pieces in a long trail of tantalizing clues leading Dylan in her dogged search for the truth.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A native of the Texas panhandle and the child of musicians, Melanie Wells attended Southern Methodist University on a music scholarship (she's a fiddle player), and later completed graduate degrees in counseling psychology and Biblical studies at Our Lady of the Lake University and Dallas Theological Seminary. She has taught at the graduate level at both OLLU and DTS, and has been in private practice as a counselor since 1992. She is the founder and director of LifeWorks counseling associates in Dallas, Texas, a collaborative community of creative therapists. When the Day of Evil Comes is her first published work of fiction, and the first of a three-book series. The second work, The Soul Hunter was released in May, 2006. She lives and writes in Dallas.
MY REVIEW: What an amazing character Dylan Foster is. She is beautifully and realistically flawed. When I came across this paragraph, I knew I identified with Dylan:
"I always forget God is multilingual. Half the time, I forget He's there at all. You'd think I'd learn, but spiritually, I have ADHD and am still in the third reading group." (pg. 29 of My Soul to Keep.)
The book is full of these little gems. I particularly loved Dylan's Top Ten Terrible Traits, flaws in her character that she's working on.
A couple of things I found jarring. I found one swear word in the book, and several believers in the book drink alcohol. The alcohol, while unusual in CBA fiction didn't bother me as much as the swear word, but given Multnomah's tagline "Keeping Your Trust...One Book at a Time," I did wonder how this would go over with the average Christian reader.
Dylan Foster had one TSTL moment when she ventures into a seedy part of Dallas alone at night, knocking on doors and visiting liquor stores and strip clubs in an effort to gain information about the kidnapped boy. While I understood her motivation, it annoyed me that she would put the child's life at risk as well as herself by doing something so foolish, especially when she had been specifically warned away from doing such a thing by one of the police officers in charge of the case. I kept thinking that if she got close to the kidnappers, they would kill the child and bury him.
That being said, the writing is fabulous and fresh, the characters are interesting, unpredictable, and endearing, and the plot fast-paced. The conflicts pile on, both physical and spiritual, until the story is strung so tight you find yourself clenching your muscles and squirming with anxiety.
I recommend My Soul To Keep, book three in the Day of Evil series and I intend to go get books one and two ASAP. To get your own copy of My Soul to Keep, click Here.

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