Sunday, October 11, 2015

HIS RIGHT HAND by Mette Ivie Harrison

Publisher:     Soho    
Published:    December 1, 2015
ISBN:      978-1616956103
Genre:    Mystery
Format:   Ebook via Edelweiss
Obtained via:  Publisher  
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina


When Linda and Kurt Wallheim join friends for what they’d hoped was a relaxing dinner at a nearby restaurant the last thing they expected was for one of the other couples, the Ashbys, not only be late, but to be fighting when they arrive.  Carl Ashby is known throughout the community as a devout, by-the-book Mormon.  Friends see him as a loving husband and father.  When he is found dead in the church parking lot no one can make any sense of his death.  Who would kill such a highly thought of member and friend?  After her own near brush with dead the last thing Linda wants is to be involved in another murder investigation.  But when confronted with Carl’s grieving widow, a woman who could barely function on her own before her husband’s death and his children’s own despondent reactions, Linda finds herself drawn more and more into the mystery of who would kill such a man.

As Linda delves into the mystery more questions than answers emerge.  People who seemed strangers become friends.  Friends turn out to be more than friends and at the same time, less than friends.  Former loves appear – but the relationships are changed and now, with Carl’s death, they change again.  Each corner raises another questions but the question of who would kill Carl and why seems further and further from being solved.  And then Linda is, once again, facing death at the hands of a killer.   

I stumbled on Mette Ivie Harrison’s first book, THE BISHOP’S WIFE through several people in my book club talking about it.  I love a good mystery and in that first Linda Wallheim mystery Harrison definitely delivered.  She not only treated her readers to a solid, page turning mystery, but for those of us outside the Mormon religion she offered a glimpse of life within it.  While that glimpse may not be accurate to some, it still offered a glimpse of that belief system. In book 2, HIS RIGHT HAND, Harrison once again delivers a page turning mystery, one where rather than meet my usual group for lunch I took off to a private locale to read and then found myself up way later than I should have been telling myself “one more chapter, one more chapter” until the book was done. 
There seemed to be a lot of religion throughout the book – more focus on Linda’s relationship with God and became a little too preachy for me.  After awhile I wanted to just say “get on with it and let’s get to the mystery.”  When it did, the mystery was solid. 

What I also enjoyed was the layers Harrison brought to the mystery.  She delves into questions and misconceptions and issues surrounding gender identity—acceptance and denial in a person understanding his or her own, their struggles to accept themselves despite conflicts created by people around them.  Harrison does this with compassion and understanding through Linda’s struggles searching for her own answers.

I suspect Harrison also has a wicked sense of humor because every once in awhile you see a glimmer of it in Linda’s character.  It makes her seem all the more human and someone you’d like to know.

At the time of writing this review I do not see that there is a third book coming in the series, but I certainly hope so.  I want to see where Linda ventures next, how Kurt resolves his issues with Samuel and the rest of the secondary characters such as Anna, bring their world views into Linda’s life.

Each book in this series is a standalone and does not have to be read in order although that’s a good idea because of the well done character development.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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