Friday, June 29, 2018

"Portrait of Vengeance" by Carrie Stuart Parks

What a thrill ride this book was!

Seriously, it grabbed hold of me within the first couple of pages and I inhaled it in just over a day. 

Forensic artist Gwen Marcey takes on a gruesome murder case that closely resembles memories from her past that she's been running from for decades.  But this fresh crime occurred in a Nez Perce community, and Marcey is seen as an interloper sticking her nose in where it's not needed.

One of the few people who welcomes her help is  Seth Kus, chief of the Nez Perce Tribal Police.  Handsome, skilled, and respected, he and Gwen Marcey find themselves attracted to each other in the midst of a swirling, ever-worsening investigation.  Kus also has family history that will also impact the case in ways neither he nor Gwen Marcey can imagine. 

In the end, Marcey has to figure out what really happened to her and her family when she was a child, dredging up horrific memories and trying to analyze them with the methods she uses to help others process crime scenes.  Once she does, she has the key to the identity of this murderer.  

This is one of the best modern forensic novels I've read in years.  I enjoyed When Death Draws Near last year, but this was waaaaaay better.  Marcey's Christian faith is tested in many ways during this story, especially the need to forgive others as Christ forgave us.  A lot of Christian fiction kind of shoe-horns faith into the story, but here it's an integral part of who this character is and how she behaves.  I was highly impressed.

In fact, my fellow judges and I selected it as the winner for the 2018 INSPY Awards for Best Mystery/Thriller!

If This Was a Movie, I Would Rate It:  a hard PG-13 for descriptions of horrible crimes including murder, children in danger, and discussions of child abuse.  No bad language or sexual content.

Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for me to read while judging the INSPY awards. In no way did I agree to review this book in exchange. These are my honest opinions.


  1. Replies
    1. Skye, it is! I haven't read the first couple books in the series, but my library has them, so I hope to read them sooner rather than later.

  2. Thank you so much for this high honor and for the lovely review! God bless. -Carrie

    1. You're most welcome, CSP -- it's an honor well-deserved!


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