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review 2019-09-09 04:13
Book Review: A Thorn Among the Lilies
A Thorn Among the Lilies (An Alvin, Alabama Novel) - Michael Hiebert

Book: A Thorn Among The Lilies


Author: Michael Hiebert


Genre: Fiction/Mystery


Summary: Detective Leah Teal is privy to most of the secrets in her hometown of Alvin, but there are always surprises to be had. Like the day she agrees to take her daughter, Caroline, to see a psychic for a reading. The psychic hones in on Leah instead, hinting at a string of gruesome killings and insisting that she intervene to prevent more deaths. When you go looking for trouble, you never know how much you'll find. Sure enough, the psychic's scant clues lead Leah to a cold case from six years ago, when a young woman was found shot to death, her eyelids sewn shut. As Leah digs deeper into old files, a second unsolved case surfaces with the same grisly pattern. While her shrewd young son, Abe, observes from the sidelines, Leah races to prevent another horrific murder, unaware of just how deep the roots of evil can go. Taut, suspenseful, and rich in Southern atmosphere, A Thorn Among The Lilies is a mesmerizing novel of loss and vengeance, and the lengths some will go to out of loyalty and love. -Kensington Books, 2015.


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review 2018-11-27 12:04
Good Story and Good Characters
A Thorn Among the Lilies (An Alvin, Alabama Novel) - Michael Hiebert

Christmas was barely two weeks away. Abe, Dewey, and Carry were watching the parade with their uncle. Then came the float with the mayor on it. With him was Officer Chris Jenkins and their mother Leah. Both Leah and Chris work for the Alvin police Department. Leah was a detective in a small police department. Carry’s birthday was coming up and for her birthday she wanted to go to a psychic and get a reading done. Leah had shook hands with the psychic- Madam Crystalle and than the psychic told Leah to sit in the chair. Even though Leah said the reading was for Caroline. But Madam Crystalle said there will be no charge . There were things Leah must know. Now before she lost them. Than the psychic said she saw a Maniac. A Tailor who deprives those of their sight. Very dangerous. Than she adds she saw a body, in darkness waiting. She seen writing on the body. She couldn’t see enough to read it. But remembered the number 78. It is important and remember the maniac tailor. Know that can save many lives over the coming time. Than she saw a sign Welcome To Gray…..but than it was gone. Than Madam Crystalle took out a deck of tarot cards to do Caroline’s reading. Leah had trouble sleeping that night with what the psychic had told her. But Leah was a logical woman and the psychic had made no sense.  Than a woman’s body was pulled out of Lake Willow in the morning. When they pulled the woman out of the water her eyes are sewn shut with black thread. On her chest was written ‘Justice is blind in the Eyes of the Lord.” Than the investigation goes on there could be a connection to a case with similarities in a town a couple of hours away.

I enjoyed this book. It was a good read that kept your attention. I liked Dewy and Abe and felt they added a lot to these book. I really liked the plot. This did drag for me some at times.  I really liked the family aspect of this. Although at different times I felt maybe a little too much on them. I really liked how Leah started solving old cases to try to find the killer. I enjoyed the characters in this book and the ins and outs and I recommend it.

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review 2016-06-22 01:09
Sticks and Stones
Sticks and Stones (An Alvin, Alabama Novel) - Michael Hiebert

By:  Michael Hiebert

ISBN: 9781617737398

Publisher: Kensington

Publication Date: 6/28/2016 

Format: Paperback 

My Rating: 3.5 Stars


A special thank you to Kensington and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Nice cover.

A fan of the Michael Hiebert’s southern series (have read them all), he returns following (2015) A Thorn Among the Lilies(Detective Leah Teal series #3) with #4 in the series STICKS AND STONES –From beauty to brutality; A Southern Gothic psychological crime suspense. A serial killer. A new case, similar to a fifteen-year-old case of Leah’s then, Detective father.

Raising all sorts of questions: Was the wrong man shot, a copycat, or someone on the inside gone bad? Why has the killer been sitting dormant all these years?

(2015) A Thorn Among the Lilies (#3)
(2014) Close To the Broken Hearted (#2)
(2013) Dream with Little Angels (#1)

Picking up from earlier books, set in the small rural town of Alvin, Alabama, (pop. 6,000) police officer Leah Teal, daughter of Joe Fowler, a former detective back in 1974. Joe was involved in an intense case tagged by the media as "Stickman."

The brutal case involved wooden staves hammered through chest, and pieces of paper affixed to the stave, a drawing of a stickman made in black permanent market.

Victims ranged from mid- twenties to early forties, both men and women. Every killing brought in more cops and a task force. The case was long and arduous with nine in total. Harry Stork, The Stickman. Joe Fowler gave his life. Leah’s dad killed him. It lasted from Feb, 1973-July 22, 1974.

He made sure, his daughter Leah would follow in his footsteps. She needed to be able to take care of her family.

Now fifteen years later, it is 1989 --Leah is a single mom. Her husband Billy was killed years ago in an automobile accident. She is now dating Dan Truitt, a Detective from nearby Birmingham.

Detective Leah Teal is the only detective in the town of Alvin and raising two children, we met from earlier books. Abe (love him), age thirteen, and daughter, Caroline, age sixteen. They always become involved in the cases. Also, we get to catch up with Abe’s partner in crime and best friend, Dewey. The adventure always unfolds with this duo: Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn.

Now, she receives the news Stickman Strikes again. Her pa shot him through the heart. How could this be? The killings stopped, so now why start again fifteen years later? He is dead.

Unless there is a copycat, or someone related. OR worst still, did her dad kill the wrong man? Why would a copycat start fifteen years later? The dead do not come back. Now everyone is panicked. The murders have started and now she is the one receiving the letters, like her dad received. Prior to finding the victims. Warning: A storm is approaching

What is the truth? She recalled the details when her dad was involved. It has to be someone who knew his MO and his signature. They knew to send the letter ahead of time. Leah cannot accept her father made a mistake. His legacy. The Stickman had to be someone else. Maybe it took fifteen years to find a new partner.

A serial killer is on the loose. Through cop procedures and forensics, we meet a colorful cast of characters and suspects. From a twin brother Tommy and a pa named Noah. There was also an honorable discharge due to psychological trauma and his own medical waste management company. Following clues, schizophrenia, psych wards, a suicide, Jonathan, plus more crazy names: Stickman, Stranger, Duck, Buzzman, plus more.

In between trying to keep everyone safe from the killer, trying to solve the crime mystery, Teah is also juggling two teens, which is no easy task and a boyfriend who drinks too much. What about Dan’s dark monsters. Why does he drink so much?

From tragedy and the road to healing. Life's torrential storms. Protection for those things, and people we hold so precious to our hearts. I really enjoyed the first two books in the series; however, the latest two additions, are not quite as engaging or lyrical, as the series started. The first two seemed to be more emotional and gripping, and always enjoy the humor from the kids, mixed with the forensics.

A few notations: Hopefully if there is another installment, we can get some of original groove back. I enjoyed more of the, coming-of-age tales with Abe and Dewey’s character taking the lead, which adds a nice balance. Also, Leah seemed to be a bit disconnected. Some of the Southern flair was missing which was apparent in the earlier books in the series. Recommend reading the first, and working your way through the series.

Hiebert is a talented writer, however, want to see more of the earlier, bold, literary storytelling style -(more than the heavy cop procedures). Complex, psychological, heart-wrenching effects on the human psyche, as: Wiley Cash, David Joy, and John Hart true Southern Grit/Gothic. Of course, we know Hiebert is not from the South, as these mentions.

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/#!Sticks-and-Stones/cmoa/572966150cf2c0d03b66c7f7
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review 2015-06-10 05:04
A Thorn Among Lilies
A Thorn Among the Lilies (An Alvin, Alabama Novel) - Michael Hiebert
Series: An Alvin, Alabama Novel #3
ISBN: 9781617737374
Publisher:  Kensington Books
Publication Date:  6/30/2015 
Format: Paperback 
My Rating:  3 Stars 
A special thank you to Kensington Books and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Michael Hiebert returns with his third installment in An Alvin, Alabama Novel with A THORN AMONG LILIES, for more mystery, a serial killer, a psychic, revenge, family, and small town secrets.

As the book opens it is 1976 in Alvin, Alabama. Some gals are in town from Mississippi, for a bachelorette party. When there is a disagreement with the maid of honor, the limo was not an option. Anna leaves the club driving drunk and hits another innocent young mother out to buy milk for her baby at home left with her twelve year old son. The drunk gal walks away with no problems; however, not so pleasant for the young mother, Susan - never normal again. She remained unconscious in a hospital while the world went on.

Twelve years later, doctors take Anna off life support and pronounces her dead, and the jury only gives Anna five years for reckless vehicular manslaughter, the maximum sentence in Alabama.

The novel jumps forward thirteen years later, Christmas has passed and time for Carry’s birthday, only four days after Christmas. For her birthday present she wants her family to visit a psychic. They set up a time to visit with Madame Crystalle on Main Street.

In the small town of Alvin, Leah Teal the mother (of Abe and Carry) is a detective and only two police officers other than the Police Chief Ethan Montgomery. While there, Leah gets a reading and hers is focused on the clues to a murder which has not occurred. The psychic seems to know a lot and she cannot let her boss know, as he will think she has lost her mind. However, she cannot forget what the woman said. There would be writing on a body.

When the body of a woman turns up in a local Willet Lake, in the morning, matching the psychic’s description she wonders if there is a connection. When they turn over the body, they gasped, as the woman’s eyes had been stitched shut with thick black threat. Something was written on her chest in Magic Marker. “Justice is Blind in the Eyes of the Lord.”

As the investigation continues and there may be a connection to an old cold case with similarities. Then there are more. Of course, Abe which is very intuitive has input as they have to solve the mystery, and the motives behind the brutal killings with cryptic messages.

I enjoyed catching up with Abe and friend Dewey, from previous books and the characters from this small southern town. There is also the budding romance between Leah and Dan, and some suspects keeping you guessing for a light mystery serial killer of whodunit along with some evil motivations for revenge. Unfortunately, this was my least favorite of the three books.

Close to the Broken Hearted

Dream with Little Angels
Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/#!A-Thorn-Among-the-Lilies/cmoa/554805ce0cf23d0164720852
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text 2015-05-07 13:57
TBR Thursday #39
Fire & Chasm - Chelsea M. Campbell
Insylum - Z. Rider
Gathering Deep - Lisa Maxwell
The Darkness Within - Kelly Hashway
A Thorn Among the Lilies (An Alvin, Alabama Novel) - Michael Hiebert
Evil Games - Angela Marsons

Moonlight Reader started the TBR Thursday, and I think it's a good way to a) show what new books I've got and b) confront myself with my inability to lower my TBR. In fact, since I started recording it, it has risen significantly. I get the feeling I'm doing something wrong here...


So many books, so little time...

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