Miller's View: The Alley Rat (Volume 5)

Marlene W.

When Skylar ‘Birdy’ Branson witnesses the brutal murder of Deacon Bradley, beloved leader of the 4th Avenue Baptist Church in Louisiana, it places a target on the back of the seventeen-year-old homeless girl. Real estate tycoon Cranston Turner will stop at nothing to obtain the land the old church stands on and cover his tracks while eliminating any of the church members who stand in his way. On the hunt for the young witness, Turner will soon learn money cannot buy him everything his heart desires when he meets strong opposition from the runaway he pursues, a close-knit church community and the detective work of Officers Miller and Branson.

This installment may appeal to readers who enjoy a slice of the paranormal served along with their murder mystery. Problems begin in the confusing prologue, which attempts to list plot elements of the stories from previous books in the series. Facts are listed without enough detail for a new reader to grasp past storylines, and unfamiliar characters are named with no reference to offer recognition. Much of the novel reads like stage lines, lacking sufficient detail or depth of emotion for the reader to develop a connection. Several plot holes, such as the discovery of a suspect’s partial print on a bomb fragment that results in no arrest at that time, may further disconnect the reader from the story. Incorrect word usage (e.g. creek instead of creak near the beginning) and a shift from the book’s present tense voice to past in several places creates further distraction. A good line editor’s assist could easily craft the text into a heartwarming mystery any reader would enjoy.

Claudette Melanson