Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Only By Death

Kathy Herman
ISBN 978-1-4347-0476-4
Christian Suspense
David C. Cook
423 pages
$14.99 paperback

Is Liam Berne a loving son—or a murderer? The second book in the Ozark Mountain Trilogy, Only by Death is a thought-provoking suspense story of a man who loses everything and learns he must die to find life.

After much agonizing, Liam Berne takes his mother, who has Alzheimer’s, to the Sure Foot River and drowns her. A mercy killing, he tells himself, to spare her years in a nursing home. And getting his inheritance early isn’t a bad thing either.

Dixie Berne’s body is recovered and the coroner cannot find any sign of foul play, though Liam’s sister isn’t convinced. Then Liam hears rumors that a twelve-year-old boy has witnessed the drowning. Terrified that he will be discovered, Liam sets out to intimidate the boy into silence. Little does Liam know that someone else suspects him—someone who intends to make him pay.

My thoughts (reviewed by Steve)  I’ve found a new favorite author.  Her name is Kathy Herman, she has authored twenty novels, and her writing will grab you from page one, and will not turn you loose until you arrive at the last page, emotionally wrung out, wondering “What just happened?”

It’s not just the fully-developed, complex characters.  It’s more than scenes so detailed you feel as if you were actually there.  There’s a theme of God’s grace, forgiveness, and mercy, as well as his righteousness, holiness and justice.  And Kathy doesn’t preach, so much as she speaks the truth . . . a truth that she has experienced for herself, and so she can faithfully express it through the pages of her novels.

12-year old Jesse Cummings has just witnessed a murder.  He just doesn’t know it yet.

50-something year old Liam Berne has just committed a murder.  He just doesn’t see it that way.

To Liam’s way of thinking, his mother – diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease – would never have wanted to live as she is living.  And she certainly wouldn’t have wanted her children to spend every last dime of the investment’s she and her husband had so carefully built up over the years.  So Liam is simply killing two birds with one stone . . . in a manner of speaking.

Colleen, Liam’s sister, isn’t convinced that her mother, Dixie, simply wandered off, fell into the river, and subsequently drowned.  She’s got questions, and she’s determined to find answers – even if it means spending her share of the inheritance in order to do so.

As details emerge, Jesse finds himself having to grow up a lot sooner than he anticipated.  His faith will be tested almost to the breaking point, and this fictional character will learn a lot more about trusting God and the nature of forgiveness than many of us will in a lifetime.

I received this book in exchange for my honest review.

5 stars for a work of fiction that unashamedly tells the truth.

1 comment:

Marilyn R. said...

A great book (for me) is having a strong faith message along with all the other qualities of plot, characters, descriptive words, etc. Nice review, Steve.