by James Lilliefors
The corpse of a woman with her eyes open and hands bound in prayer is the last thing Pastor Luke Bowers expects to find when he enters his church in the Chesapeake Bay community of Tidewater.
On the other hand, the last thing the sheriff wants to see is Amy Hunter, a state police homicide investigator. Although the sheriff’s inadequacies led to her involvement as a matter of routine in murder cases in Tidewater County, his bias against her youth and gender are constant barriers in the investigation at the heart of The Psalmist.
Bowers and Hunter make an unusual but fitting pair of investigators. A sequence of numbers carved into the victim’s right hand appear to Bowers to be a reference to the Book of Psalms.
As Hunter digs into the evidence and checks law enforcement data files, she finds other odd cases that prove to share coded references to psalms. The more she digs the bigger scale and more sinister the web that links these mysterious deaths.
In a Q&A by John Clement of The Big Thrill, Lilliefors said, “Hunter and Bowers are both in the good-and-evil business, although in very different ways, and they act as foils for one another. One deals with man-made laws, the other with the laws of scripture. They have dissimilar styles and problem-solving methods but their dissimilarities somehow mesh. There’s a bit of Hunter and Bowers in everyone, I think.”
The small community in which this mystery is set makes it a cosy, although the world of the perpetrators is hardly cosy. This makes an entertaining airplane, pool or vacation book — entertaining but not likely to keep you awake at night.
The second book in the series is The Tempest, due out at the end of July.
The Author: James Lilliefors
James Lilliefors is a novelist and journalist who grew up in the Washington, D.C. area. He wrote the political thrillers Viral and The Leviathan Effect, and the nonfiction books America’s Boardwalks, Ball Cap Nation and Highway 50.
As a journalist, he has reported for The Washington Post, The Miami Herald, The Boston Globe and the Baltimore Sun. He began his reporting career as a writer and editor for Runner’s World magazine.