Clair Poulson’s Done it Again with Dead Wrong
By Jennie Hansen

Clair Poulson has done it again with Dead Wrong, his just released high-action mystery.  He’ll keep action fans on the edge of their seats and reading far into the night with the story of Kaitlyn Glenn who was disowned by her family following her baptism.  Her family moves away, leaving no forwarding address, and though she misses her mother, she doesn’t mourn being estranged from her stepfather and his odious son, who has his eye on her inheritance from her deceased wealthy father.

Kaitlyn is doing fine on her own and enjoying her life on the rodeo circuit until she makes the mistake of dating a rich, powerful man who is totally obsessed with her.  He frightens her and an attack sends her running, though it’s hard to run towing a horse trailer behind her pickup truck.  When her too ardent stalker hires a corrupt PI to find her and kill the young rodeo fan who helped her escape, the story shifts to higher gear.  Her flight crosses paths with a woman trucker, a retired couple, an Idaho Highway patrol trooper, and a nine-year-old English girl, as well as the young man who rescued her from her would-be suitor.  

Though I found the ending a little too convenient or perhaps coincidental, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it highly.  The plot has great twists and turns, and Poulson gives the reader just enough clues on several occasions to build up the suspense by allowing the reader to guess what is about to happen before a character stumbles into a disastrous situation.  There are enough villains to keep the reader guessing and Kaitlyn is an easy character to identify with favorably.

The author, a seasoned lawman and judge as well as outdoor enthusiast and horseman, gives a strong sense of authenticity to this story that involves police officers in multiple states, rugged Western settings, and horses.  Dead Wrong will be welcomed with enthusiasm by Poulson’s many fans and will appeal to readers young and old who like strong action.

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Right Click is a slightly misleading title for Susan Aylworth’s new novel, but it’s close enough.  Written with a slightly chick lit first person point-of view, the story captures the reader from the first page.

Sarah Kimball was dumped by her fianc, just as she was preparing to send out their wedding invitations.  It seems there was a small matter of an ex-girlfriend who wasn’t as ex as Sarah thought.  Not only has her fianc changed his mind about marrying Sarah, but the ex is pregnant.  Small wonder, Sarah has trust issues and is reluctant to begin dating again.  Her persistent family begins a matchmaking campaign which is more disastrous than helpful.  When Shari and her two-year-old daughter move in with her as a means of meeting expenses for Sarah and she meets a former missionary companion of one of her brothers, life begins to look up.  But is she really over her unfaithful fianc?

This is a charming story.  The characters are believable and the plot flows smoothly.  However, this isn’t merely a light-hearted, fun romance.  Beneath the realistic and fun relationship story, there is a deeper story concerning repentance and forgiveness.  Some readers may find this story a little on the preachy side, but this side of the story is handled so well I didn’t find it intrusive or offensive, but the message is definitely there.  Just for the record, I found Sarah’s final choice a bit too controlling for my taste.  I think readers, especially young women will love this one.

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Alma by H.B. Moore is the most recent fictionalized story based on a portion of the Book of Mormon.  Moore follows the scriptural account of Alma’s life with meticulous care and is assisted by a great deal of research from highly respected sources such as Joseph L. Allen, S. Kent Brown, Michael D. Coe, Hugh Nibley, and John L. Sorenson.  The fictionalized portions, such as love stories and personal words and feelings, come from her imagination, based on how those Book of Mormon accounts might have happened.

The story of Alma, a high priest in wicked King Noah’s court, who came to believe the martyred prophets words and act upon them, thus bringing the condemnation of King Noah and his equally wicked priests down on his head is a well known story in LDS circles.  Moore’s inclusion of women and children, their relationship to the characters named in the Book of Mormon, and a detailed account of the hardships the believers endured add a depth of realism to the story and for many enhance an appreciation for Alma and his followers.

Moore’s writing is straight forward and easy to follow without straying into childishness.  She is adept at building suspense even in such a well-known story.  Those who like scriptural stories dramatized will enjoy this one whether young or older.  Even those who prefer to not mix scriptural stories with fiction will find this story will draw them in with vivid details of the life and culture of this historical era in Mesoamerica and Moore’s careful adherence to the facts of the story.  She also provides the reader with a footnoted bibliography of her research. 

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The Choice and the Sacrifice by Edward Huff is the story of a naive young returned missionary, John, who is tricked into flying a load of guns and ammunition into El Salvador during that country’s civil war.  He leaves behind a girlfriend whom he hopes to marry when he returns.  The plane crashes and he is rescued by a brother and sister who are involved with a guerilla group and he becomes romantically involved with the young woman.  When he is eventually captured by the Army, arrangements are made for him to return to the US to help capture the man who tricked him into making the illegal flight.

The story involves a series of choices characters must make between their own safety and what is right or legal.  John also makes choices concerning three different women he cares about.

When Huff writes about the geography and history of El Salvador, he is at his best and those parts are fascinating.  The fiction portion of the story lacks polish and careful copy editing.  Long passages are repetitive and it’s hard to care about a young man who is so anxious to marry he falls in love with three different women in such a short space of time or a young woman who accepts expensive gifts from a man she’s only known a short time and goes on a long trip with him, assuming he expects nothing in return.  There is little character development and the plot wanders.  This book will appeal primarily to those who are interested in the political intrigue of South American countries.

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Anita Stansfield has added a fifth volume to her Jason Wolfe series, The Silence of Snow.  This volume is an “and they all lived happily ever after” wrap up of the other volumes.  It’s more preachy than her books usually tend to be and focuses primarily on preparations for going on tour.  A minor character is diagnosed with an extreme form of Celiac and Jason struggles with migraine headaches.  This is not a stand alone book and will not be of great interest to anyone other than those who have enjoyed the preceding volumes.

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DEAD WRONG by Clair M. Poulson, published by Covenant Communications, soft cover, 264 pages, $16.95

RIGHT CLICK by Susan Aylworth, published by Covenant Communications, soft cover, 180 pages, $14.95

THE CHOICE AND THE SACRIFICE by Edward Huff, published by iUniverse, soft cover, 411  pages, $23.95

THE SILENCE OF SNOW by Anita Stansfield, published by Covenant Comunications, soft cover, 241 pages, $16.95

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