My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Driving home from Clara’s shower after everyone else has left, 34-year-old Delanie spots a suspicious-looking character in a dark hoodie, and then a body lying on the sidewalk. Right from the first chapter of Brandilyn Collins’ Sidetracked, we’re alerted as to what kind of story this will be:
“The chill inside me crackled to ice. For the longest moment I could only stare at the object. How frighteningly familiar it looked. A silent scream wracked my head. No, no no!
But deep within I knew. Death had followed me.” – Kindle Location 194.
Collins tells the tale of this murder mystery in two ways—Delanie’s 2014 segments are in first person. The 1995 and on flashbacks—Laura Denton’s story—are in third person. The switch between present and past are clearly indicated in the chapter headings. Those headings plus the change in point of view make it easy for us to keep track of where we are. They also add information at just the right time, helping to build suspense. Will history repeat itself?
Collins knows how to push all the right buttons. As I read, I felt outrage over what was happening to Laura and Delanie, frustration with the police investigation, sympathy toward our heroines, and a sense of hopelessness as the injustices pile up. The story certainly delivered on its promise of suspense. I was on tenterhooks through this entire thing.
Faith / lack of faith in God when He doesn’t turn things around in the face of blatant injustice is one of the understandable struggles Delanie works through. Her past has made her super sensitive to anyone being wrongfully accused, and so the search for truth (in this case about who killed Clara) is another theme that runs through the book.
Aside from a couple of crime scenes, the book is safe in the violence and gratuitous sex department (though Delanie’s relationship with Andy together with the way his parents view her make for an interesting subplot).
Great writing and a compelling plot make this a book I’d recommend to all lovers of Christian suspense.
This book is part of my own Kindle collection.