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Steal Away    by Linda Hall order for
Steal Away
by Linda Hall
Order:  USA  Can
Multnomah, 2003 (2003)
* *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

Five years after his wife Ellen's death in a sailing accident, nationally-known minister and author Carl Houseman is still searching for answers. He needs closure because the circumstances surrounding Ellen's accident are still unresolved, and her body was never recovered. Carl hires Private Investigator Teri Blake-Addison to look into Ellen's state of mind prior to her death, and to try to uncover the truth about what really happened that day.

Teri's investigation takes her from her home in Maine to Philadelphia, where she learns that something is not quite right with those involved with Houseman Ministries. She also travels to Grand Manan, a small Canadian island off the coast of Maine where some debris as well as the bodies of Ellen's two sailing companions were found. As Teri talks to those closest to Ellen, she begins to discover there was more to this woman than initially meets the eye. Behind her public persona lay private secrets, and there are people who will stop at nothing to make sure they remain hidden. Teri meets some intriguing people while in Grand Manan, the most interesting being Gerda, a recluse with a disabled daughter. What secret is Gerda guarding? The more Teri searches, the more roadblocks she encounters.

Steal Away is a page-turning adventure from the start. The puzzle is carefully laid out and clues are revealed gradually, allowing the reader to investigate along with Teri. I found passages, dealing with Teri's struggles with her church and difficulties finding a place to fit in, authentic and genuine. The message of faith penetrates every aspect of the plot, yet is never preachy or overpowering. An exciting and humorous cast of individuals lend comic relief to this edge of the seat mystery. Steal Away has a large number of characters, which makes it difficult at times to keep track of each person's role in the story. However, this doesn't detract too much from enjoyment of the book, as it eventually becomes easier to remember who is who.

Linda Hall has written another winning thriller. Fascinating locations, characters to care about, and loads of intrigue make this a must read. Mystery lovers, especially those who enjoy Christian fiction, should move Steal Away to the top of their list.

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