In this second installment of a Christian series, Colorado residents fight to cleanse their community of such atrocities as prostitution and human trafficking.
John Mark Cannikin visits Rock Creek Valley with a message from God for a specific individual. But he inspires many of the locals by sharing the gospel. It’s a tumultuous time for the area, shaken by a recent murder and unusual bear attacks (for instance, the animal, with no apparent need for sustenance, killing calves). The community collaborates to restore the Blair House, the source of a struggle to obtain coveted water and mineral rights. The house becomes a place for business (a Christian bookstore) and for others to live, like teacher Karen Gustafson. Unfortunately, wickedness persists: the missing suspect in the murder turns up dead while a rave—a thinly masked pagan ritual—ends with a girl’s death. It seems the dubious types behind the raves, linked to a prostitution ring and human trafficking, are recruiting girls. As deacon/interim pastor Adam Claymore and wrangler Pilgrim Wayne risk a mauling to stop the vicious bear, people of the community soon realize that their unified work on the Blair House is both a physical restoration and a spiritual one. As in Lippincott’s (Freedom’s Tree, 2014) preceding novel, characters advocate Christian ideals without sanctimony. People like Adam, for example, are generally amiable while the villains’ deeds are indisputably immoral. This sequel and the earlier series entry are strongly connected. The new book often references events from the prior story (for example, a murder and someone assaulting Karen). Readers, in fact, can enjoy this as a standalone, although the author does recap Book One so extensively that significant plot details are spoiled for series newbies who might be interested in perusing the first work. Nevertheless, the unassuming prose meshes well with characters who may be spurred by the Bible but whose message—genuine compassion for others—is universal. Mystery, meanwhile, unfolds in the background and, considering the planned third volume, boasts a surprising amount of resolution.
A charming and thoroughly engaging religious tale.