Title: Give Place To Wrath
Author: Steven C. Harms
Genre: Mystery / Thriller / Suspense
A series of seemingly random murders lead Roger Viceroy and his team of crime detectives on a dangerous mission to unmask a killer and prevent the death of a high profile and prominent member of the community.
With nothing to go on but a perplexing token left on the scene of the crime and a flimsy connection to an obscure town in Wisconsin, they must now navigate their way through hidden agendas and questionable motives to get to the truth of a long-buried secret that may be the key to stopping a killer.
Overall, this book delivered on the promise of its premise. It started off with a bang and kept the action going at a pace that will titillate fans of the thriller genre. Despite the relentless pace of the narrative, however, the author took the time to carefully develop both his characters and his plot.
As the main character, Roger Viceroy stands out from your run-of-the-mill crime detective. Possessing the rare combination of being able to think like a criminal and also being devoutly religious, he was a refreshing change to the usual jaded, disillusioned, and cynical crime detective who are a dime a dozen in the genre.
Steven Harms also did a good job of fleshing out the antithesis to our intrepid detective. His characterization of the killer, and the way he allowed readers insight into the workings of a mind that’s been pushed too far, was as chilling as it was compelling. The scenes detailing the organized and almost methodical way the killer planned the murders are some of the highlights of this book.
There was a natural rhythm and cadence to the author’s storytelling that added to the book’s appeal. It was clearly well-researched. The procedural aspects of the investigation felt authentic, from the frustrations of identifying jurisdiction down to the accompanying politics and bureaucracy.
There were plot devices that felt a bit too convenient and contrived. The author could have done a better job of distributing clues and incriminating circumstances, and this would have made the investigative process feel even more realistic. However, good storytelling and tight plotting ultimately saves this novel from being too predictable.
The plotting was where the author’s talent really shone through. He did a good job of layering the tension, letting events unfold organically rather than giving in to the temptation of rushing to give readers any form of resolution. In this way, the readers will feel the full impact of the truth that’s been uncovered when the book reaches its inevitable climax.
There was also an interesting side plot that will no doubt be explored further in the next installment. Other readers might feel a disconnect between these scenes and the main plotline, and at times it did interrupt the flow and momentum of the narrative. However, it served the purpose of providing a sense of continuity as we move forward in the series.
Cleverly plotted and anchored by an inventive and ingenious murder mystery, it will capture and hold the attention of readers in the span of time it takes to finish the novel. It delivered the important message of tolerating and celebrating differences while also providing hours and hours of entertaining reading and is a good starting point for what is shaping up to be an interesting series.
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