Sheila's Reviews > An Altar by the River

An Altar by the River by Christine Husom
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's review
Aug 21, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: cultural, current_issues, mystery, relationships, romance, suspense
Read in August, 2012

Convincing police dialog, scary murder scenes, a likeable and skillful female protagonist and a pleasing cast of coworkers and friends characterize Christine Huson’s Winnebago County mysteries—I just wish there were more of them. An Altar by the River is third in the series and, like the others, gives readers intriguing glimpses into evil-doers’ minds while following Sergeant Corinne Aleckson's investigation. A young man has threatened to kill himself and Corky hopes to save him. The fact that he wants to kill himself on Satan’s altar adds tension and leads reader and writer into a world of psychologists, cult survivors, priests, forgiveness and the search for healing.

I don’t know anything about satanic cults, but the characters of this novel are scarily plausible, their machinations all too convincing, and the wounds of their victims and survivors heartbreakingly real. The author adds nice touches of faith—in the character of a helpful priest for example—without preaching or pushing a point of view on the reader. Characters pray for a good ending just as the reader turning pages looks forward to one. And the author creates that sense of trust between reader and writer that guarantees somehow the novel is bound to turn out well.

Darker and more haunting than the earlier two mysteries, with overtones of real life secret fears, this novel’s a thoroughly enjoyable read, a scary investigation, and a pleasing example of how the author creates both bad characters and good, with deep insights, clever plotting, and smart switches in point of view. I definitely enjoyed this, and I really hope there might be more to come.

Disclosure: I bought this a while ago and can’t imagine why it took me so long to get around to reading it.
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