Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Stars Shine Bright

Author: Sibella Giorello
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
July 2012
ISBN: 978-1595545367
Genre: Inspirational/suspense

The FBI has suspended Special Agent Raleigh Harmon for breaking its rules. Now, she’s offered a chance to redeem her career and restart her life.

The trouble is—it’s impossible. Sent undercover to a race track for thoroughbred horses, Raleigh is asked to determine why horses that are long shots are winning consistently, then start dying of mysterious illnesses. When Raleigh’s own life is threatened, she realizes that something bigger and much more sinister is ruining Emerald Meadows.

Her one contact with the FBI is Jack Stephanson—a man who seems to be a friend one moment and her worst enemy the next. Raleigh has never felt more alone. Undercover, she has no contact with friends or family—making matters worse, Raleigh’s real-life fiancé wants them to begin their life together—at a time when she’s under orders not to be herself.

THE STARS SHINE BRIGHT is the fourth book in A Raleigh Harmon series, but it easily stands alone. Readers who fall in love with Raleigh will want to read the first three books though, The Rivers Run Dry, The Clouds Roll Away, and The Mountains Bow Down.

Raleigh is a realistic heroine who grips your heart and won’t let go. I was instantly drawn into the story, and had to keep reading to find out what happens. Even though I know next to nothing about horses, let alone thoroughbred racing horses, I cared what happened at Emerald Meadows, and I cared for Raleigh as she struggled through the darkness of what remained of her life and career. If you are looking for a page turning suspense, then pickup THE STARS SHINE BRIGHT. $15.99. 391 pages.


You Can’t Hide from the Truth
Giorello thrills audiences with her latest installment of the Raleigh Harmon mysteries

Seattle: Popular suspense author Sibella Giorello gives her readers the mystery, intrigue and excitement they’ve been waiting for in The Stars Shine Bright (Thomas Nelson/July 17, 2012/ISBN: 978-1-59554-536-7). Known for her in depth research, the latest installment of Giorello’s critically acclaimed Raleigh Harmon series brings readers into the world of crime solving and forensics as well as the darker realms of horse racing and gambling.

The Stars Shine Bright explores the consequences of lying, especially those deceptions meant to protect someone you love. The story follows Raleigh Harmon, FBI Special Agent and forensic geologist, as she struggles to redeem her career and re-start her life following her suspension from the Bureau for bending its rules. Raleigh’s newest assignment sends her undercover to a thoroughbred horse track to uncover who’s fixing the races. But when horses start dying and her own life is threatened, Raleigh realizes something bigger and more sinister ruining Emerald Meadows.

Living her double-existence undercover as a wealthy scion of the racing world, Raleigh’s never felt more alone. Or more pressure. Her fiancé wants them to begin their life together—now -- but she can’t make any contact with family during her assignment. Meanwhile her mother is confined to a state mental hospital, following a psychotic breakdown, and her one contact with the FBI is Special Agent Jack Stephanson, a guy runs the gamut from jerk to genuine friend at any given moment.

With just days left before the horse season ends, Raleigh races to stop the killing and find out who’s behind the deadly plot, while still trying to determine if Jack is friend or foe, and whether marrying her fiancé will make her life better—or worse.

Giorello puts a unique spin on the popular genre of forensics, focusing on forensic geology and mineralogy. With a background in geology, she shares with her heroine a belief that science and faith are not opposing studies but ideas that go hand-in-hand. “For evolution to work—for random chance to be the operating system in the universe—we should be witnessing tornadoes blasting through junk yards and building F-15 fighter jets. But we see the exact opposite. There’s a grand design to the natural world, and a design means there was a designer.”

Giorello credits her favorite mystery authors, such as John D. MacDonald, and growing up in a courtroom where her father served as judge as inspirations for writing crime fiction. Giorello’s also inspired by the Bible. “Whenever I say that, some people groan, but those 66 books are sheer poetry, and they cover the most crucial questions. Who is God? What's life all about? Why are we here and what's the plan—for individuals and for humanity?”

Giorello’s strong yet flawed heroine appeals not only to both male and female readers, but to Christian and mainstream audiences alike. As the Seattle Times once noted, “You don’t have to be a Christian to enjoy her books.” She hopes to bridge a gap between audiences. “There are readers who don't want to 'get inside the mind of a killer', and they don't want a lot of cursing and extramarital sex. At the same time, they want something gritty, something more than sugar-coated life. The Raleigh Harmon mysteries offer readers an intriguing puzzle with a smart and sensitive protagonist. She’s cool, honest and very real. She knows God exists, even as she manages to mess up her own life. "

Advance Praise

Praise for The Stars Shine Bright:

“Christy Award-winner Giorello arrives with the fifth in the Raleigh Harmon series… Giorello's writing is poignant, concrete, and humorously descriptive yet sincere.” ~ Publishers Weekly

Praise for previous releases in the Raleigh Harmon series:

"Giorello has won the Christy Award and has received two Pulitzer Prize nominations. When you read this book, you'll see why." ~ Booklist, Starred Review of The Mountains Bow Down

"…a gritty, suspense-filled page-turner that will appeal to those who prefer their forensic thrillers with a moral theme." ~ Library Journal on The Clouds Role Away

"The clever plot twists will have readers riveted from the start. Tough, edgy Raleigh Harmon and the city of Richmond are beauties with endearing qualities that are hard to resist." ~ Romantic Times on The Clouds Roll Away

"A journalist who worked at the Richmond Times, Giorello uses her considerable writing skills, in part, to explore Christian themes—but lightly, in a way that will appeal to crime-fiction fans along the religious/spiritual continuum. In other words: You don't have to be Christian to enjoy her books." ~ Seattle Times Sunday Books on The Rivers Run Dry

About the Author

Sibella Giorello grew up in the mountains of Alaska admiring the beauty and nature that surrounded her. She majored in geology at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts hoping to learn more about the landscape she loved back home. From there Sibella followed a winding path, much like the motorcycle ride she took across the country, which led to her true love, journalism.

She found herself in Seattle writing for rock-n-roll magazine and earned a journalism degree from the University of Washington before heading south to the land of great stories. In Virginia, Sibella became a features writer for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. It was there she also met her husband and would hear Jesus whispering her name at a tent revival.

Sibella started writing about Raleigh Harmon as a way to keep her love of story-telling alive while staying at home with her young sons. As a journalist and author, her stories have won state and national awards, including two nominations for the Pulitzer Prize. The Stones Cry Out, the first Raleigh Harmon novel, won a Christy award for debut novel in 2008. Sibella now lives in Washington state with her husband and sons.

Visit Sibella Giorello online at, Facebook or Twitter.

1 comment:

deboss said...

Laura, thanks for your kind words. So very glad you enjoyed the book. I knew next to nothing about horses when I started researching this story -- but I fell in love with them, too.

Thanks again for reading and writing.