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A Greater Glory    by James Scott Bell order for
Greater Glory
by James Scott Bell
Order:  USA  Can
Bethany, 2003 (2003)

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* *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

Kathleen "Kit" Shannon heeded God's call when she became an attorney in the early 1900's in Los Angeles. At a time in history when very few females practice law, Kit knows she can help those who may need it most. Celia and Truman Harcourt are visited by a man claiming to be a minister, clarifying information about their daughter Louise's upcoming wedding. After he leaves they find out that he is actually a newspaper reporter from the Gazette. He has uncovered an old scandal about Celia and is going to print the information, much to the horror of the Harcourts. Louise knows nothing of this incident and if the news gets out, her fianc9 will probably call off the wedding.

Celia hires Kit to attempt a libel suit against the Gazette. When that doesn't pan out, the Harcourts start to get desperate. Truman goes to publisher Gerald Mahoney's home with a gun to attempt to scare away from running the story. Kit receives a frantic call - Truman has been arrested for Mahoney's murder, and he doesn't remember a thing. All eyes are on the trial when Kit takes on Clara Dalton Price, the only female district attorney in Los Angeles. Throughout the investigation, one thing is clear - if Kit wants to prove Truman's innocence, she must follow the Lord's lead.

This is an action packed story from page one, and the secondary plots add to the intrigue. James Scott Bell appears to have researched the time period and the location thoroughly. It is fascinating to read about the workings of the legal system in 1905, because many of the things that we take for granted - such as impartial judges and rules of evidence - did not exist then. I found myself getting so frustrated at the unfairness of Kit's treatment during the trial, all because the judge desired to pursue a relationship with the district attorney! The inclusion of Harry Houdini and the debunking of spiritualists added to the story's interest; it mirrors so many of the issues prevalent in the world today.

Kit's faith never wavers, even when all of the chips seem stacked against her. She is a strong female character and readers will want to emulate her attitude and demeanor. The author's writing also refreshes the reader's faith. The story unfolds at a natural pace and nothing is revealed too early. The reader will remain hooked until the very end, when the murderer is revealed and things come to a satisfying conclusion. Lovers of history, Christian fiction, and mysteries will be won over by this new series. A Greater Glory is the first book in The Trials of Kit Shannon, yet easily stands alone. The second book, A Higher Justice, is due out September 2003.

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