Blog Tour—Coral Moon, Day 3

Nice looking cover, don’t you think? But, ooooohh, what lies behind that serene scene! And here I am, reviewing a suspense on Friday the thirteenth. Appropriate, don’t you think?

The Story. By now you know I don’t want to give any spoilers and I don’t want to give the canned backcover blurb. So what can I tell you? The protagonist of this tale, newspaper reporter Leslie Brymes, discovers something horrifying on her way to work, something that is central to a darkness affecting the entire town of Kanner Lake. One of the citizens of this cozy Idaho resort community has a troubled past that literally comes to haunt the town. And Leslie becomes the center of spiritual and physical activity she wants to stop.

The Strengths. This might be Brandilyn’s best book to date. I love the setting she’s created. Kanner Lake feels like a familiar place with folks who would welcome you into their shops or B&B’s, who would discuss the fishing with you, or the proposed hotel, who want tourists because it helps business, but would rather not see too many newcomers move into the area.

More than any of Collins’s books, I connected with the characters, mostly with the protagonist, Leslie Brymes.

* * * SPOILER ALERT * * *

I believe this is because of a character who does not appear in the book alive. The first murder victim is a woman everyone in the town loves. Person after person grieve for this woman. Her death seems senseless, wrong. By showing this so completely, Collins elevated the fear factor for me. Now I seriously worried for Leslie.


The Kanner Lake citizens are a believable lot. They feel real, interesting, individual. More and more of them are taking shape, with a little history, a little personal life of their own.

The plot is intricate, layered. For at least two-thirds of the book, I didn’t know for sure where Collins was headed.

The writing is superior. Yes, Brandilyn has some favorite phrases that make their way into many circumstances, but what writer doesn’t have those? It’s part of what makes up her voice, I think.

As to the “faith elements,” the term which seems to surplant “theme” in Christian writing, Brandilyn has crafted into the story a very gentle message about pride that might be overshadowed by the more blatant theme of involvement in demonic activity. Both are handled without any preaching and readers are left to draw their own conclusion.

The Weaknesses. Surprisingly, though I wasn’t just sure where the plot was headed, I knew at once “who dun it.” I have to admit, my reason for suspecting the perp did not pan out to be significant, but I had to wonder why the police didn’t suspect what I did, at least to the point of investigating, since they seemed to investigate anyone else remotely connected to the events. It seemed like an oversight to me. If this person had been investigated and falsely cleared, then I would have been completely fooled.

Along with this, I have my usual problem with too much antagonist POV. This story is no exception. I understand this killer, even sympathize with his own terror, and that reduces my fear for the people I’m cheering for. Early in the story I had a much greater fear for Leslie than later—even in the climatic scene. I felt for the baddie too much to be completely on the side of the good folk and too much to be genuinely afraid of him.

But maybe, just maybe, this is why I, a big honkin’ chicken, can read Brandilyn’s suspense. 😉

Recommendation. I highly recommend Coral Moon to those readers who enjoy Christian suspense.

Published in: on April 13, 2007 at 10:47 am  Comments Off on Blog Tour—Coral Moon, Day 3  
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