Desperately in need of money after the expense of her breast cancer treatment, forensic artist, Gwen Marcey, accepts an assignment in Pikesville, Kentucky to prepare a composite of a serial rapist. When she arrives, the local sheriff seems less than enthusiastic about using her expertise, making Gwen wonder about his involvement.
Most of the victims of the rapist are either dead, or they and their families have disappeared. When Gwen tries to interview the one remaining victim, she too disappears. Unable to use her talents on the serial rapist, the sheriff asks her to draw a young man found dead of snakebite so they can find his parents. Gwen complies and learns about the problems the area is having with a church where part of the ritual involves handling serpents. A politician living in the area wants to get rid of the church and asks Gwen to try to infiltrate the group. She agrees with frightening consequences.
Gwen is a gutsy character. Although she's worried about the recurrence of her breast cancer, she puts her personal problems on hold and tackles the job. Skilled in interviewing techniques, body language, as well as having an artist's eye, Gwen is a formidable detective, which is not always appreciated by local law enforcement.
One of the most interesting aspects of the book for me was the serpent handling church: their ritual and why they believe as they do. The author made the people in the church come alive as individuals. They are ordinary people with an unusual religious expression.
The mystery is well done. There are plenty of twists to keep you wondering until the end. If you enjoy a Christian mystery or just a good read. I recommend this book.
I received this book from BookLook Bloggers for this review.