Fiction. Romance. Suspense. Christian Fiction. The sheriff of Justice, Illinois, is hunting a killer. Women visiting town are being murdered, tourists in nice hotels, money still in their billfolds, jewelry still on the dresser. Quiet killsâ??they go to sleep and never awaken. The sheriff is not pleased to find the new detective in town, Rae Gabriella, working the case on behalf of one of the families. She's staying in the same hotel as one of the victimsâ??and her looks suggest she could be the next v
The writing in Before I Wake didn't seem as fluid as in Henderson's earlier novels. Portions of dialogue came off sounding stiff and stilted. This, added to the typographical errors, was somewhat irritating. The plot is good though, and the characters are likable, if somewhat predictable. The actual suspense is somewhat moderate, focusing mostly on the uncertainty of Rae's future and the tenuous hold on peace in the town of Justice. If you're looking for Henderson's best work, I would reccommend her O'Malley Series (The Negotiator is the first book), but in all, Before I Wake is still an enjoyable read.
This is a great plot. It started a little slow, but I was hooked by chapter two, and shortly thereafter the suspense kept the book glued to my hands. I couldn't wait to know what clues (or bodies) would turn up next. Dee Henderson also opened my eyes to the politics of labour negotiations, the cutthroat business of illicit drugs, and the thankless job of fighting crime. I was a fascinated student from beginning to end.
They say conflict keeps a story moving, but it was Rae, Bruce and Nathan's gentle friendships, with relaxed dialogue and realistically-paced personal growth, that drew me in. Dee fashioned the characters as normal people with challenging relationships, troubled pasts, and tough questions about God, making the story reminiscent of real life without feeling mundane.
Some of the book's spiritual questions are left open, allowing readers to pursue their own answers about God's sovereignty in the midst of tragic circumstances. Some questions are too complex to ask and answer in a single book, and I'm grateful when Christian fiction acknowledges this.
The only point on which I'm left wanting is the romantic tension between Rae and the two men. Attraction is clearly alluded to throughout the novel, but the characters seem slightly too passive and the story-telling feels too ambiguous on this dimension. I also wonder why Nathan's parents aren't more involved in the conflict between him and his grandfather, but that's a minor point. Overall, I felt inspired by the characters' relationships.
Note: This review is not part of a blog review program.