Monday, March 18, 2013

LDS Mystery Written for the Mainstream

I recently had the opportunity to read an ARC copy (yes, I am aware of the redundancy) of Michaelbrent Collings's newest mystery Blood Relations. Truth be told, I've never read any of Michaelbrent's other novels, and taking a peek at his website, he's got quite a few--several of which are apparently more thriller than mystery...which may be why I've never taken the chance to read any of the others--YET. But after reading Blood Relations, I find I may need to check out a few more of his books.

Being a women's fiction writer, I spend most of my free time reading in that genre. Makes sense, right? But it doesn't hurt to branch out once in a while to see what else is out there and when I read the synopsis of Blood Relations, I decided to try it. Honestly, what intrigued me the most before opening the first page was the fact that it is about an LDS woman but the book is written for a general audience. Awesome. I wanted to see how the author approached it.

I think he did rather well. The main character is LDS. She's not perfect, nor is she trying to be. She's also not anti- or having any testimony issues. She's normal. Living her religion, doing her work, taking care of her family. Oh yeah, and running for her life--or the life of her sister. The author explains a few of the religious and cultural references so an audience unaccustomed to the LDS church can understand the character's motivations, but it isn't over the top most of the time--and it certainly doesn't try to convert anyone.

But the author really didn't want his book to be about the fact that the main character is LDS. Instead, it's about the mystery, which was pretty good in my book, but as I said, I don't read a ton of mysteries, which is strange since that's what I like to watch on TV (and that's a mystery in itself...why do I read women's fiction, watch TV mysteries, and love movie romances? But there's no reason to go off on that tangent. Maybe another day.) Michaelbrent's Blood Relations reminded me of Gregg Luke's Deadly Undertakings which I read a few months back. The mysteries themselves don't have anything to do with each other, but the writing style is similar, in my opinion, so if you liked one, you'd probably like the other as well.

An added bonus of Blood Relations is that it was completely clean. I wouldn't be writing about it otherwise :) Anyway, I enjoyed the book and recommend it to any of my readers and here's the Amazon link.

Here's the back teaser:
Lane Cooley is the best Homicide Detective on the LAPD. But she isn't anything like you'd imagine. She's no fast-talking femme fatale... no, she's a Good Mormon Girl who doesn't smoke, drink, cuss, or even watch R-rated movies. But that doesn't mean Lane misses out on all the blood and guts. Especially now. A new serial killer is in town, one who knows all the cops' tricks, all their secrets. One who is targeting young girls, killing them, and cutting them to pieces. Now, Lane has to race against the clock to find the killer. Because the murderer has chosen his next victim. And it's Lane's little sister.