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Faithful Unto Death (Sugar Land Mystery #1)

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  200 Ratings  ·  67 Reviews
Everything looks perfect in Sugar Land, Texas. But it’s not.

No one knows that better than Walker “Bear” Wells, a former college football player now serving as a minister in this upscale Texas town, where famous athletes mix with ranchers and the local parish priest wants to arm wrestle. It’s a beautiful master-planned community, but people can’t be held to neighborhood r
Paperback, 344 pages
Published June 5th 2012 by Berkley Books
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Jul 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
I liked this book. The lead character is a minister in Texas, which might have put me off, but the writing is not at all preachy. The fact that Bear Walker is a minister is just part of his identity, just as other mysteries feature caterers or quilters. I really liked that the characters, especially Bear, were normal people with both flaws and moments of grace. The writing was good and the story was good. I look forward to a series....
Sep 17, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
A VERY pleasant surprise. With mysteries if there aren't cops/PIs then the main character usually has some sort of job like librarian, book seller, medium, pet sitter, handyman, judge, minister of some sort - something to get them involved with the mystery and the other characters in the story. And always, the author shares some of the details about said profession. Usually it's ok - but if the author uses that character/profession to make her own personal political points of view I usually find ...more
Amy Lignor
May 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Set in Sugar Land, Texas, this novel marks the debut of a brand new series. In a town where things seem to be utterly perfect at all times, readers soon learn that Sugar Land is not so very sweet after all.

Graham Garcia, a local lawyer, is found facedown on a golf course, having been smacked in the head with a very large golf club and left for dead. The detective on the case, James Wanderley, is one who is very sure of himself and treats all people - suspect, or not - to his pushy, arrogant ways
Jun 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2012
Sugar Land, Texas is a beautiful master-planned community where famous athletes rub shoulders with ranchers.

It is home to Walker "Bear" Wells, minister and a former college football player. Bear has dealt with a lot over the years with his congregation and his own family but when a man is found murdered on a local golf course he finds himself somewhere her never dreamed he would be, right in the middle of all the drama. Every time he turns around, another facet of the investigation tangles with
Jun 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Walker Wells, better known as Bear because he once played college football and perhaps because of his physique, is a minister at a church in the suburbs of Houston, TX. Bear is a man of God, but he is very much a man of family and a Texan.

He may resort to prayer before he loses his control but he still is quite human in his emotions as he tries to do his best as a husband and father. That he has complete blinkers on when it comes to seeing his family as they really are is a surprize. He needs a
May 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This was a First Reads giveaway. I absolutely loved this book! The narrating character, Walker "Bear" Wells, is a minister for the Church of Christ. I found him very relatable. He's a minister but he doesn't get preachy with his thoughts or his actions. He is a normal person with a normal temper and ego.

It seemed to take a bit to start working on the solving the mystery part. A decent chunk of the beginning of the story is watching Bear interact with people, especially his 14-year-old daughter
Sep 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
You know a book is good when you can't wait to read it, but dread finishing the last chapter. Evans has written a fine first book in what I hope will be a long series. Many would immediately call this Christian fiction because the main character is a Church of Christ pastor. I dislike sappy, goody-goody, Christian fiction where everything and everyone is wrapped up is a neat package. "Bear" is a good man trying to do the right thing. However, he is a human being with the flaws that come with the ...more
Jul 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
I absolutely loved this debut from a local author. The book is set in Sugar Land. The teens even attend Clements High School, where I was a librarian for three years. Conflicts of interest aside, the characters were truly engaging and warm. I fell in love with Bear (the curmudgeonly minister protagonist) and even his semi-nemesis, Detective Wanderley. And as for the storyline...Well, I read the book in two days...if that tells you anything. Great local flavor and a fun, cozy mystery.
Mar 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A delishious, light mystery set in my new home town of Sugar Land; Loved the unikely protagonist - minister-slueth Bear - not to mention his no-nonsense wife! And "HD" - a Texas oilman? ABsoultely, ludicrously hilarious! I think I have found a new favorite author. Cant wait until her next book comes out!
John Hanscom
May 28, 2012 rated it liked it
The author is a god story teller, and there were many laugh-out-load moments, but the mystery was not that interesting, and his utter cluelessness toward his family tiring after awhile.
Pamela Baracho
Jan 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
I really liked reading this book because I live in Sugar Land and recognized the settings. I also liked the minister and didn't feel like it hit you over the head with religion.
Mar 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
In Sugar Land, Texas, just outside of Houston, folks are not supposed to die. Not in this world of perfect master planned communities of perfect lawns, perfect homes, and powerful Home Owners Associations. Everything in sight is to be aesthetically pleasing at all times. Dead bodies are certainly not supposed to be laying out in plain view.

But, that is exactly what Graham Garcia did messing up the ambiance one Monday morning. He was murdered and his body was left where it fell on the golf course
Elise Stone
Jul 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
I was surprised when I saw that this book had no reviews on Goodreads yet. It was nominated for an Agatha for Best First Novel, which is a pretty prestigious recommendation. On the other hand, I only recently heard about it myself from an acquaintance who recommended it when I complained about not being able to find good mysteries to read.

The problem with having read hundreds of mysteries is that, after a while, you get to know the way they're put together. So many of them are similar. Cozies in
May 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I thoroughly enjoyed the tongue-in cheek humor in this murder mystery starring, as the unlikely hero, Bear Wells, former football player turned clergyman. He is not above thinking sarcastic, snarky comments he doesn’t dare voice or losing his temper, and he cares a little too much about maintaining his pastoral image. The story is told through his first-person perspective; and as we encounter the various characters, we see them through his eyes, with all their foibles and failings. The clash of ...more
Jul 30, 2012 rated it liked it
My father was a preacher for the Church of Christ in Texas, so this new mystery novel about a Church of Christ preacher in Texas trying to solve a murder case caught my attention, especially so because (in the interest of full disclosure) it is written by a woman who is my cousin's sister-in-law. (I've never met her.) It fits relatively well into the sub-category of murder mysteries known as "cosies" since it's not remotely a hard-boiled detective story and its sleuth is closer in spirit to Miss ...more
Sharon Dotson
Sep 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Bear Wells, a former University of Texas football player-turned-Church-of-Christ-minister is the unlikely sleuth in this warm and witty cozy that grabbed me and wouldn't let me go until the unlikely killer was nabbed. There's no gratuitous profanity in "Faithful Unto Death," but there is a smattering of expletives to keep the characters right in tune with reality.

Thankfully, Big Bear Wells' piety is never self-righteous. I loved the way the author infused the burly pastor with the heart and soul
Jun 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Stephanie is a very talented writer with a true sense of humor. When new subjects or characters were added it was done smoothly and cleverly.

The only reason I won't recommend this to others is because of the profanity that could so easily been left out, especially when the story is in the first person who is a Preacher. We all know that much of society has become illiterate enough they feel they have to express themselves in vulgar words but it should not be encouraged through literature.

The mys
Nov 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
"Bear" Walker is the local Church of Christ preacher in Sugarland, Texas. He's also father of two daughters and devoted husband. His busy life is suddenly complicated when the husband of a member of his congregation is found murdered. To his utter dismay he soon wonders how much his daughter Jo may know about it when he discovers that she has been secretly seeing the victim's son. I enjoyed meeting the Walker family and I loved Annie Laurie, his wife. She manages to balance her role as a preache ...more
Jeannie and Louis Rigod
There is a murder on the golf course. Church of Christ Minister, Walker 'Bear' Wells, is instantly drawn into the case as the murdered man is the husband of his parishioner. The book takes place in Sugar Land, Texas.

The Reverend finds himself mixed in the deceased family's dynamics when he learns his fourteen year old daughter is seeing the son who is sixteen.

This is a nice novel which, to me, happened to have a murder in it. I found it easy to read but that it didn't compel me to finish it. I
Feb 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book caught my eye at the library when I saw on the cover that it's set in my hometown of Sugar Land, Texas. I only picked it up for that reason, but really didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did. But it's quite well-written, and the protagonist, Bear, was a very realistic character, reminiscent of men I know
in suburban Houston. I was even surprised to enjoy reading about a minister as the main character (not my usual cup of tea). It was also fun to read all the little references to El
Aug 25, 2013 rated it liked it
This was a fairly good book. Walker "Bear" Wells is a Church of Christ minister in Sugarland, Texas. He lives with his wife and two teenage daughters, one off to college, and Jo age 14 bent on becoming a prima ballerina. A man's body is discovered on the golf course and it is discovered that it is the husband of one of Bear's parishoners. Graham Garcia, the victim, had met with Bear shortly before his death to ask him to convince his wife to divorce him. This leads to an investigation of an enti ...more
Bebe (Sarah) Brechner
Thoughtful new mystery series with an unusual twist - the main character is a Texas Church of Christ minister who once played UT football. Excellent writing and good plot development. I loved the unusual setting and the very human characters. What failed for me are the lengthy digressions right after a major point was raised and not answered, which means the reader has to wade through all of this before getting to the punchline. These interesting digressions are so badly placed that I found myse ...more
Sep 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
I met Stephanie and obtained a copy of her book last Spring at TLA, but just got around to reading it and really loved it. Walker "Bear" Wells is a Church of Christ former UT football lineman and current Church of Christ minister. They live in Sugar Land, a suburb of Houston, TX. The husband of one of his church members is found murdered on the golf course and Bear finds himself caught up solving the mystery. Detective Wanderly is darned obnoxious, but has some likable qualities and seems to be ...more
May 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
I was not sure if I would like this book but I did.
There was some parts that I did not like,
but after I finished the book I still liked the over all story line,
and I liked that all the characters where well developed.
And you know how sometimes when you read a book there the author
focuses on only one or two of the characters and the other
characters are just there.
I'm vary happy to say that all the right characters where developed on
and at the end of the book I did Not feel like something was
Brandi Larsen
May 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
I really enjoyed this book. I was a little nervous when I started because of the preacher protagonist. My doubts quickly subsided because the voice leaps from the page. It's also a good mystery that had me fooled. The references to other books are fun too. I really loved the relationships. I cant't want to read more from this wonderful author.

I work at Penguin, although that didn't influence this review.
Jul 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hardcover, mystery
I really liked this story. It's a mystery. It has a minister for a protagonist, but it's not "inspirational". It's set in Texas, written by someone who seriously knows Texas. (She lives in Suger Land, where the story is set, so she knows the town And Houston real well.) It's funny and angsty at the same time. (I love how one character has been 'dropping his marbles one or two all over town and has lost most of them by now.') It's just a really good read.
Aug 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
I loved this book. The plot was excellent, but it was the characters who grabbed me most. They were very believable, not the cardboard creatures with names attached some writers produce. Because of living near the area the story is set in, I know that's right on target about the populace, location and lifestyle. The only complaint from me is that this author didn't start writing 15 years ago, and there aren't many more entries in the series.
Jun 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
The plot of this book really kept you interested. Once I got into the story, I wanted to know the ending and I read very fast to finish it. I loved the main character. Although he is a preacher, he is still a very down to earth man and father. He does not think that he can do no wrong, since he is a man of God. When I was arriving at the end, I was not sure the mystery would ever be solved but it did have an ending. Very good book. I received this book for free through Firstreads.
Mar 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Very good mystery that was nominated for an Agatha. The protagonist, "Bear" Wells, is a minister but the story does not try to be evangelical. He learns things in his role as a counselor, he struggles to communicate with his teenage daughter, he argues with his wife. Story is well-developed with several motives, possible suspects that strike close to home for Bear and enough twists to keep you guessing.
May 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Thsi books is not quite a cozy, but not a police procedural either (my two main mystery genres). I wanted something different and this book fit the bill. I loved the lead character (Walker "Bear" Wells, former college football star and current preacher) and the missteps he makes. I can't wait to read another story featuring Sugar Land, Texas.
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Faithful Unto Death, my first in the Sugar Land Mystery Series, won a 2010 William F. Deeck--Malice Domestic Grant for Unpublished Writers. Berkley Prime Crime picked the series up a year later. Faithful Unto Death came out June 5th, 2012 and made the Library Journal's debut of the month and the Houston Chronicle Ultimate 2012 Book List, and is an Agatha nominee for best first novel. Woo Hoo!
More about Stephanie Jaye Evans

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