Sunday, June 30, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Never Lie to an Angel by Kate Welsh

Never Lie to an AngelNever Lie to an Angel by Kate Welsh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had the privilege of judging this book for a contest shortly after it was published, and it is the most outstanding example of Christian fiction I have read to date. Excellent action, well-drawn characters, and a good message without being preachy. That last point, in fact, is the make-or-break with me in this genre.

My original review, published in Crescent Blues and reprinted here with permission, read as follows:

Author Kate Welsh accomplished two things with this inspirational romance: she shattered my inherent dislike of contemporary crime stories and kept me up way past my bedtime. Each one deserves a hearty round of applause. To achieve both in one novel is nothing short of miraculous.

Angelica DeVoe sacrificed the good wishes of her socially elite family to minister to the destitute flooding the North Riverside Mission. Appalled by her life choices and personal commitment to the hungry, Angelica's parents conspire to deprive Angelica of the fortune willed to her by her beloved grandmother -- a fortune earmarked for the mission.

Undercover cop Greg Peterson vowed to avenge the deaths of his brother and partner by doing everything in his power to rid Riverside of drug traffic. Greg bears a burden of guilt heavy enough for any six human beings.

The paths of cop and "Angel" converge during Greg's investigation to determine whether the "Angel of North Riverside" is in fact the local drug kingpin. Greg establishes Angelica's innocence quickly, realizing her zeal to save their corner of Pennsylvania burns as fervently as his. As kindred spirits united in a common cause, they cannot deny their growing physical attraction for each another. But neither innocence nor love can shield them from the drug-spun web of violence and corruption ensnaring local residents, gang members, police and beyond.

Often in romances, the plot would dry up and blow away if the hero and heroine ever sat down and talked with each other at the outset. Not so with Never Lie to an Angel. Greg cannot blow his cover, even with his Angel, and, knowing how deeply she despises lies, he despises himself for perpetuating the deceit. Angelica tries to draw him out, and he divulges what he can, but those snippets are, at best, half-truths. And the flip side of every half-truth is half a lie.

Welsh pulls no punches with her stunning portrayal of real people battling real issues of violence, deception, betrayal, failure, guilt, temptation, forgiveness, faith, hope and love. The main characters' riveting outer and inner battles hit painfully close to home. Nothing comes easily, even for those choosing to make life-transforming decisions. Never does Welsh rely upon the fairy-tale platitude of "love conquers all." All too often, love needs a generous dose of courage to look beyond the ugliness around us, in each other, and within ourselves. Thank you, Kate Welsh, for reminding us the ugliness can be dealt with in a decisive, practical and ultimately redeeming manner.

(Originally published in Crescent Blues. Reprinted with permission.)

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