Reverend Brian Lucas has a secret his congregation in the Nine Mile Methodist Church knows nothing about, and he'd really like to keep it that way. But even his Earth-shattering secret takes a backseat to what else is happening in his tiny hometown. Murders usually do that. Brian's "close friend", Sam, is urging a resolution to their little problem, but Brian's brother, Boyd, the County Sheriff, is more caught up in chasing down a homicidal maniac who is slaughtering little old ladies. When Brian's secret and Boyd's mystery run into each other head on, and Boyd's 15-year-old son, Jesse, gets involved, all hell breaks loose. Then a fourth death comes to terrify the town, and it is Brian who begins to see what is taking place in their little corner of the Corn Belt. But even for a Methodist minister, it will take more than prayer to set it right.
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This is not a book to read if you are in a hurry, or are looking for a "quick" read. This is a book to read, or listen to as I did, when you are in the mood to indulge yourself for a while in the lives of a bunch of people in a small town, getting to know them as they live their daily lives and share both the ups and downs with you. It is a great book. The characters are entertaining, and I laughed out loud as I enjoyed listening. It is the story of love and loss. It makes you feel, it makes you think. I was very sad it ended.
This audiobook has RUINED me for all others. I've tried listening to at least six different audiobooks (some m/m, some m/f) since finishing this one, but I have not been able to complete them. They just don't add up to Mr. Inman's book, Sunset Lake.
I bought this audiobook because one of my friends on Goodreads was raving about it so, on a whim, I tried it. I made the mistake of starting it at 10 p.m. (who does that, right?) and at 3 a.m. I had to force myself to go to sleep.
I think the mark of a good book, in addition to being able to draw me into the characters' lives so their journey seems real and visceral, is its ability to make me think about aspects of my life that need to be addressed or acknowledged. This book did that for me with its layers of themes and messages. Having grown up in an ultra religious and conservative home, this book made so much sense. It was spot on. The church people were so familiar. Too familiar. Though not the gay minister. But the gay minister? Priceless. And the love between the two MCs? Wow. I ached for them. Every time they had to hide, I held back tears. Their love making was so tastefully done. It was hot, but not OTT. (Don't expect erotica here! It wasn't needed and it wasn't missed!) I don’t know how Mr. Inman was able to so effortlessly create characters so deserving of empathy, but he did and he did it well, but I welcomed the character growth in the reverend. What a journey. What a story!
I also was impressed by the author’s first person POV narration. Believe me, I’ve read/listened to some awkward first person POV stories, and this stands heads and shoulders above most! The pacing was also perfect and the language … The language! Poignant. Beautiful. Not one wasted word or expression or action.
As to the mystery! I did NOT see that coming. Even when the evidence was being examined with the perpetrator in the middle of it all, I kept thinking, “So who did it?” My mind refused to accept the truth simply because there was NOOOOOOOOOO forewarning that of the guilty person. Not one did the sleuth in me consider the killer as a possibility. There was NOTHING about the killer that gave the person away. NOTHING. I mean NOTHING. I’m serious. NO. THING. NOTHING! I still can’t get over it. It was believable but surprising AND sooooo unexpected.
And the resolution. Sad but it made sense TO ME. It also spoke to me about how to deal with those types of maniacs in my life, of course not literally, but symbolically. Sometimes you just have to let them GO. (Yeah, you have to listen to it to get this cryptic message! ☺)
All in all, this was EXCELLENT. If you’re tired of the crap that many M/M authors are trying to pass off as good writing by catering to readers' lust for mere sex (now don't get me wrong -- I love the hawt sex, but I need more than that!!), and you want to read/listen to something that is intellectually challenging and emotionally satisfying, then listen to this. You won’t regret it.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. This is a 6-star read and narration. Maybe more than 6, actually. But definitely beyond 5. Makes me want to go back and re-evaluate some of the ‘good’ stuff I gave 5!
Kudos, Mr. Inman. I’ve now bought two more of your other audiobooks (Shy – which I’m listening to now, and Stanley) and, I’ve started to stalk your reading list on Goodreads. Based on your own writing, I believe I can trust your standards. Thank you for writing such a wonderful book, and thank you for inspiring readers like me to find and follow our true calling just as you did.