Blood Bayou, by Karen Young

Blood BayouFinished 5-14-09, rating 3.5/5, Christian fiction, pub.2009

“Don’t you feel some responsibility for letting these criminals out on the street, Ms. St. James?”

The question came from a woman carrying a sign that read “Victims Have Rights Too.”  “Mr. Pelham had no previous record when he was arrested.  I don’t see him as a threat in any way.”

Camille and Jack haven’t seen each other for seven years and were only married for three before alcoholism and a fatal accident led to their divorce.  Camille feels compelled to go back to Blood Bayou to offer her personal condolences to Jack when his sister, his only family, is brutally murdered.  Jack is a minister now, but his civility is tested by Camille’s unfailing support for his sister’s murderer.  Camille is out to prove that the man she got off death row did not get out of jail and immediately murder again.

This novel is a murder mystery, faith journey, and love story in one.  As Camille stays in Blood Bayou to prove Chester innocent, she comes in close contact with Jack and old feelings rekindle.  Jack has completely turned his life around and shares with Camille the journey his he has taken to find God and His purpose for Jack.  Camille is skeptical and finds Jack’s turnaround self-serving and she questions his motives.  Camille herself is no church-goer and she is uncomfortable with Jack’s strong faith and chosen profession.

There is a lot to like about this book.  The people of Blood Bayou are ones that you will recognize if you have ever lived in a small town and the mystery keeps the story moving along.  I found Camille’s lack of faith refreshing and honest.  And I really liked the fact that the author did not wrap up Camille’s religious journey with a shiny bow at the end.

I will say that the mystery wasn’t much of a mystery.  It did not take me too long to figure out what was going on and there were not really too many surprises.  It seemed that the mystery was just a vehicle to get Jack and Camille together and talk about faith.  This is not a bad thing – I found it very enjoyable – but I wouldn’t have minded a few twists I didn’t see coming.

I recommend it for a nice friendly read.

Book provided by Library Thing Early Reviewer