Saturday, February 12, 2011

Murder on an Alaskan Cruise Ship

Raleigh Harmon, FBI agent and forensic geologist, is on a working vacation with her family on a cruise to Alaska. Her aunt Charlotte has been hired by a film company to provide crystals to enhance the performance of the actors. Raleigh is the consultant on FBI matters. Almost immediately the vacation turns deadly when the wife of the star is murdered.

Complications arise when Jack Stephenson, her nemesis from her days at the Seattle office, arrives to help with the murder investigation. When her mother discovers that Raleigh is an FBI agent, she has a mental collapse. Claire, the clairvoyant, provides comic relief, and the film company is filled with characters, as is the ship's personnel.

The Alaskan scenery is beautifully described, and we learn a great deal about the geology of the area and about gemstones. The mystery is intertwined with the characters and the setting, but little information is given to allow the reader to participate in the solution. I would call this book more of a thriller than a traditional mystery.

The pace of the novel is good, but I found the main character unlikable. She seems far too angry and disturbed. The minor characters are well drawn, particularly Jack Stephenson and Geert, the officer in charge of ship security. Although the book is billed as Christian fiction, I found the ties to Christianity rather tenuous and primarily related to Raleigh feeling bad about what she's doing, but not changing her behavior. Therefore, I can't really recommend it as Christian fiction.

The scenery and setting on a cruise ship are the most attractive features of the book. If you like the thriller genre, this could be an enjoyable book.

I reviewed this book as part of the Thomas Nelson Book Sneeze Program.