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By L. J. Sellers

Spellbinder Press, 2007 ($8.50)
ISBN-10: 0979518202
ISBN-13: 978-0979518201

Reviewed by Shirley Wetzel

Kera Kollmorgan is a nurse in a birth control center that is very serious about protecting patient privacy. She is disturbed about an increase in the number of very young girls seeking help at the clinic, girls who are obviously sexually active. One in particular is Jesse, who claims to be sixteen but is most likely no more than fourteen. She attempts to counsel her, sensing that the girl has something to tell her, but when she presses the issue Jesse bolts, leaving her cell phone behind. Before Kera can catch up with her to return it, a pipe bomb explodes in the clinic lobby.

The next day, the body of one of the clinic’s patients is found murdered, her body discarded in a dumpster. The first officer on the scene, Detective Wade Jackson, is stunned -- the girl had been until recently one of his own daughter’s best friends. Kera has knowledge that could be related to the case, but her boss forbids her to talk to them, because of their privacy policy.

Paralleling the murder plot, we get into the mind of the clinic bomber, and learn who she is and what’s going on in her twisted mind to make her think murdering innocent people is okay if it helps save unborn babies.

Kera is a sympathetic character. Her only child joined the military after September 11, much against her wishes, and he died in Iraq. Her husband, unable to cope with the loss, drifted away from her, and recently went to Iraq himself to try to make sense of the boy’s death. Detective Jackson is a good man, a single father who adores his daughter Katie and tries to be there for her. Katie’s mother is too lost in her alcoholism to be much of a mother.

Katie Jackson, the murder victim, and several other clinic patients attend Kinkaid Middle School. When Wade asks Katie why she stopped seeing her friend, she refuses to tell him, but he knows it’s important to the case. At the same time, Kera is trying to discover what’s really going on with the kids who are all members of a weekly Bible class. What she finds is shocking, to say the least. Given the book’s title, the reader will not be surprised to learn the kids are doing a lot more than reading their Bibles. Although the book is fiction, the issues addressed are very real. The author handles these sensitive and emotionally-charged issues with skill and understanding. The inevitable attraction between Kera and Wade is handled realistically, two lonely and emotionally scarred people trying to find their way in a difficult world. By book’s end they are still in the tentative stage of a relationship, leaving an opening for future books with these engaging characters.

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