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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

A Thorn Among the Lilies

Series: An Alvin, Alabama Novel #3

ISBN: 9781617737374

Publisher: Kensington Books

Publication Date: 6/30/2015

Format: Paperback

My Rating: 3 Stars

In Michael Hiebert's haunting and powerful novel, a long-ago tragedy echoes through small-town Alabama as one woman tries to track down a serial killer.

Detective Leah Teal is privy to most of the secrets in her hometown of Alvin, but there are always surprises to be had. Like the day she agrees to take her daughter, Caroline, to see a psychic for a reading. The psychic hones in on Leah instead, hinting at a string of gruesome killings and insisting that she intervene to prevent more deaths.

When you go looking for trouble, you never know how much you'll find. Sure enough, the psychic's scant clues lead Leah to a cold case from six years ago, when a young woman was found shot to death, her eyelids sewn shut. As Leah digs deeper into old files, a second unsolved case surfaces with the same grisly pattern. While her shrewd young son, Abe, observes from the sidelines, Leah races to prevent another horrific murder, unaware of just how deep the roots of evil can go.

Taut, suspenseful, and rich in Southern atmosphere, A Thorn Among the Lilies is a mesmerizing novel of loss and vengeance, and the lengths some will go to out of loyalty and love.

About the Author

My name is Michael Hiebert. I am a writer of fiction (with the occassional jaunt into non-fiction). Most of my well-published work is in the mystery genre. I have a series of books that take place in Southern Alabama. The first one, Dream with Little Angels was well received by the public and critics. Publisher's Weekly gave it a STARRED review, and Jennifer Jackson blurbed it by saying it was the, "best book [she] read in a long, long, time. How lucky is that? :)

I live in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, where it’s somewhat cold and wet in the winter and warm (and sometimes also wet) in the summer. There’s cougars, and bears and deer. I’ve got a dog named Chloe, three kids (two with names that are nouns), and enough books that it became no fun to move quite a long time ago.

My Review

A special thank you to Kensington Books and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Michael Hiebert returns with his third installment in An Alvin, Alabama Novel with A THORN AMONG LILIES, for more mystery, a serial killer, a psychic, revenge, family, and small town secrets. As the book opens it is 1976 in Alvin, Alabama. Some gals are in town from Mississippi, for a bachelorette party. When there is a disagreement with the maid of honor, the limo was not an option. Anna leaves the club driving drunk and hits another innocent young mother out to buy milk for her baby at home left with her twelve year old son. The drunk gal walks away with no problems; however, not so pleasant for the young mother, Susan - never normal again. She remained unconscious in a hospital while the world went on. Twelve years later, doctors take Anna off life support and pronounces her dead, and the jury only gives Anna five years for reckless vehicular manslaughter, the maximum sentence in Alabama. The novel jumps forward thirteen years later, Christmas has passed and time for Carry’s birthday, only four days after Christmas. For her birthday present she wants her family to visit a psychic. They set up a time to visit with Madame Crystalle on Main Street. In the small town of Alvin, Leah Teal the mother (of Abe and Carry) is a detective and only two police officers other than the Police Chief Ethan Montgomery. While there, Leah gets a reading and hers is focused on the clues to a murder which has not occurred. The psychic seems to know a lot and she cannot let her boss know, as he will think she has lost her mind. However, she cannot forget what the woman said. There would be writing on a body. When the body of a woman turns up in a local Willet Lake, in the morning, matching the psychic’s description she wonders if there is a connection. When they turn over the body, they gasped, as the woman’s eyes had been stitched shut with thick black threat. Something was written on her chest in Magic Marker. “Justice is Blind in the Eyes of the Lord.” As the investigation continues and there may be a connection to an old cold case with similarities. Then there are more. Of course, Abe which is very intuitive has input as they have to solve the mystery, and the motives behind the brutal killings with cryptic messages. I enjoyed catching up with Abe and friend Dewey, from previous books and the characters from this small southern town. There is also the budding romance between Leah and Dan, and some suspects keeping you guessing for a light mystery serial killer of whodunit along with some evil motivations for revenge. Unfortunately, this was my least favorite of the three books.

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