Ungodliness erupts during a baptism.
Josh Easterling, youth pastor of the First Baptist Church of Ogeechee, Ga., is just about to save 16-year-old Crys Cleary when, immersed in water, he reaches for the microphone to let the congregants hear the ceremony and is promptly electrocuted. Crys, still dry, is unscathed, but runs away from her Grandpa’s house believing that everyone who’s ever loved her—her mother, her boyfriend, her pastor—dies. Who was the target here, Crys or Josh? Rev. Harden’s wife, unsatisfied with either hypothesis, fears that her husband may be in real danger. After auxiliary officer Trudy Roundtree and Police Chief Hen Huckabee spend a good deal of time assiduously chatting up the villagers, they finally decide that this murder is indeed connected to those of Crys’s mother and boyfriend. Their theory is proved out by evidence of a bullet’s trajectory and a birthday present. Case closed, though once again poor Crys is left alone in the world.
Droll dialogue from Hen and Trudy (Death and the Family Tree, 2007, etc.) and a rather sweet rendering of small-town life. Still, the motive is a bit shaky, and a major clue is all but shouted from the rooftops early on.