Book #28

Salvation Station by Kathryn Schleich

When committed police captain Linda Turner, haunted by the murders of two small children and their pastor father, becomes obsessed with solving the harrowing case, she finds herself wrapped up in a mission to expose a fraudulent religious organization and an unrepentant killer.

In St. Louis, the televangelist Ray Williams is about to lose his show—until one of his regular attendees approaches him with an idea that will help him save it. Despite his initial misgivings, Ray agrees to give it a try. He can’t deny his attraction to this woman, and besides, she’d assured him the plan is just—God gave her the instructions in a dream.
While Reverend Williams is swept up in his newfound success and plans for his wedding, Captain Turner can only hope that she and her team will catch the Hansens’ cunning killer—before more bodies surface.

During a time of a rampant virus, and quarantine madness, it’s important to have our distractions. Salvation Station was perfect for this; I was so engaged, rapidly inhaling each word, and I’m only sorry I burst through the chapters so quickly. There’s something about Schleich’s writing style that urges you to keep reading; it’s not something I can put my finger on.

I’m a huge fan of multiple voice, and Schleich uses this well here to allow us an excellent rounded view of the plot. These views contrast between a high-powered police investigation, a pastor’s seemingly humble life, and a lonely elderly woman dealing with family disputes. All are connected, all are notably different in style and pace, and all add something different to the plot.

We have some great character building to ensure we understand motivations. I particularly loved our protagonist, Captain Linda Turner, who seems to have been hardened by life’s tragic moments. It’s gorgeous to see her bloom throughout the pages, and I sincerely hope Schleich has more Turner left to give; I’d love a sequel.

Although I agreed with the decision to cast suspicion on our culprit from the beginning, I would have liked to see a few more tricks from Schleich to throw us off, and I would have loved a final twist. The story coursed along well without these, but some smokescreen and shock would have added to my delight.

There’s some interesting commentary here about religion, and those who follow it. Although having faith can be a comfort, the idea of being easily manipulated when one needs to hold on to, or bolster, this comfort, is something I’ve been considering often in the current climate. Schleich deals with this perfectly, nothing overbearing, yet plants the seeds of consideration in the reader’s brain.

A wonderful crime novel, I’d definitely recommend. I’m very grateful to have been asked to read this - thank you.