Monday, February 1, 2016

A Cry From The Dust by Carrie Parks

A Cry from the Dust by Carrie Parks is a thrilling tale following forensic artist Gwen Macey.  Gwen is working on recreating faces of three skulls that have been found in Utah for a museum when a group comes into to view the exhibit.  A young woman faints at the sight of one of the masks.  A few hours later than same girl is discovered murdered in her room, beginning a wild investigation involving militant Mormon organizations intent on hiding secrets.  Will Gwen be able to figure out the truth before it is too late?  Or will she become another victim?

This book is the kind of book that wraps itself inside your head and refuses to let go.  Gwen is such a complex and compelling character; she is a recently divorced, cancer surviving single mother with a keen eye for detail and subtlety.  She is a stronger, yet weak character, but weak in the sense that she is afraid to reach her full potential.  She struggles to trust people other than those she holds dear (Dave, Beth and her daughter).  She has been through so much that she is afraid she will lose things all over again.  She not only has to rebuild her life as a single mother, but also her reputation (we don't know specifically what happened in the past).  She is not so much weary of the people around her, but of herself.

The story focuses on Gwen and Beth finding a lost history within the Mormon Church, a secret revolving around the death of Joseph Smith.  There is a lot of research and resources throughout the novel the women use that makes it feel real, but one must remember this is a book of fiction and not take some aspects of the novel as truth.  Gwen and Beth both face betrayal in someone they trusted with information, a trust that gets Gwen into more trouble than she desires.  Parks develops the story with engaging descriptions, complex dialogue, and intense character interaction.  She draws readers into the story from the very first paragraph, and doesn’t let go until the very end.  Parks draws on her own forensic science and cancer survival experience adding a personal aspect to the story and cultivates realistic emotions and train of thoughts.

As the novel draws closer to the end the point of view begins to shift occasionally between Gwen and her daughter Anyslee which is done when Gwen goes in one direction and Beth and Anyslee in another.  As this is done, the tension and suspense in the story also builds, but this also keeps the story progressing in two directions: what is happening to Gwen and what is happening at a critical event.  One surprising things was Gwen not knowing what a death mask was; one would think an experienced forensic artist would know what a death mask was.  There are some Christian elements to the story such as Gwen praying at one point or Beth telling her to rely on God, but those elements are not overdone, and fit well with the story.  It is something else that adds a personal touch to the novel.

This is a book mystery thrill seekers would find appealing; it has all the elements that create a fantastic mystery novel.  This would also be a great novel to start with if one if starting to read mystery genres.  Honestly, any book worm would love to have this book on their shelf, as there is something for everyone in it.

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