Folks looking to settle in a Colorado community are made to feel unwelcome by a batch of unruly—and often dangerous—locals in Lippincott’s Christian thriller debut.
Karen Gustafson moves to the small town of Rock Creek, Colorado, for a teaching job at the high school. She quickly spots copious illicit activities, from drugs to prostitution, to which cops have apparently turned a blind eye. But it’s the Blair House that causes the most trouble. If the property is condemned, the profitable water and mineral rights could be up for grabs. Consequently, the townsfolk are decidedly unfriendly to new arrivals in Rock Creek, fearing that they might want to stake a claim to the Blair House. Karen and others, including Rob and Ruth Browning, a couple repairing their fractured marriage, brave harassment and occasional assaults. An unsolved murder, meanwhile, may indicate that a killer calls the community home. Strong Christian themes highlight Lippincott’s novel: many characters, including Karen and rancher/interim pastor (and Karen’s romantic interest) Adam Claymore, are devout Christians often inspired by biblical passages. But the religious subject matter doesn’t overwhelm the story since characters are struggling, imperfect humans relatable to any reader. The Brownings, for instance, recently separated prior to reuniting in neighboring Ridge View, and even Karen has a secret (she didn’t leave her last job voluntarily). The story’s main focus is the Blair House, which also involves a mysterious trenchcoat-donning stranger staying at the house and an equally strange woodcutter who waters and whittles on a long-dead tree on the desired property. The recent strangulation death of Gloria Jones, on the other hand, is a much less intriguing subplot. Karen, it seems, enters a murder mystery already in progress; a missing teacher—who may have witnessed the killing—left the position Karen’s there to fill. That mystery is likewise resolved without much intervention from the protagonist. By the time the novel ends, the general unease surrounding the Blair House is still an issue, aptly setting the stage for a planned sequel.
Promotes concepts aimed at Christian readers, but it’s first and foremost a thriller that will reel in genre fans.