Have you ever been contacted by an author directly? I haven’t been – until a few months ago when Australian author Julie Cave wrote to me about her new trilogy, a series of books featuring Dinah Harris, FBI detective. She offered me a set of books to keep and one to giveaway in exchange for a review.
Now, realize that at this point I was nearly bouncing out of my chair with excitement over hearing from a real, live author. (Actually, I may have bounced around the living room a few times – let’s be honest.) I was worried about the subject, though – a mystery/suspense book sounded right right up my alley, but one about apologetics? I didn’t know much about that subject, and just how exciting could it be? Since that’s a topic that I’ve been wanting to learn more about, I decided to go for it – and I’m so glad I did.
Dinah Harris is a down-and-out FBI agent who’s survived a family tragedy – barely. Once a rising star in the Bureau, she now struggles to get through each workday until she can drown in her favorite wine. When her former partner pushes buttons and removes her from her day-to-day teaching job and gets her reinstated to agent status, can she keep it together to find the missing Secretary of the Smithsonian?
I love real characters. You know the kind I mean – the kind with the sort of flaws that we’ve struggled with personally, the kind that the guy down the street has or that we see in the carpool line at school. Dinah Harris is such a character.
Following a huge personal tragedy, she falls into a deep depression and tries to numb the pain with alcohol – which only adds an alcoholic’s problems to her original ones. It doesn’t help that she’s been demoted to a teacher at the FBI academy and lost her dream position of star agent.
The story opens as her partner returns, having gotten permission for her to work the case of the missing Smithsonian secretary, and you can feel Dinah’s pain as you read. Knowing that she was once totally different than she is now, you can’t help but cheer her on through this rare second chance. As she makes mistake after mistake and you learn more of her story, you just want to hand her a box of tissues and give her a big hug.
If Deadly Disclosures were only the story of Dinah Harris solving a high-profile case, it would be a good one. What makes it even better is the other side of it – the shady political deals happening behind the scenes. While I’m about as political as a slug, I found this fascinating, mainly because I learned so much from this part of the story.
Thomas Whitfield, the Secretary of the Smithsonian, was a devout evolutionist – until the day he became a Christian. With Whitfield interested in Creationism before he disappeared, Dinah finds herself in a no-holds-barred search for the truth – as bodies begin to appear and her own downward spiral continues.
I feared that a story where the author had a distinct desire to teach something would be preachy, but Deadly Disclosures is anything but. With politicians and heads of organizations interviewed throughout the book, the information is shared at just the right pace for a newbie to understand, and, better yet, both sides of the issue are explained.
Cave uses natural dialogue and the twists and turns of the case to educate the reader about creationism. It is clear that she stands on a distinct side of this issue, but scientific information is shared to support all premises. Both sides of the issues are very well explained and inherent to the story, making it come across as a really well-researched suspense novel.
Now, with that technical stuff out of the way, this is a really awesome start to a great trilogy. It’s fast-paced, action-packed, and a dramatic mystery that makes you feel for the main character even as you try to solve the mystery before she does. (I liked it so much that I read the whole series in two days. I can’t wait for Cave’s next book!)
What could be better?
I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.