Review: BOUND BY GUILT by C.J. Darlington

TITLE: Bound By Guilt
AUTHOR: C.J. Darlington – Web, Blog
GENRE: Christian Fiction,
PUBLISHED: Tyndale (February 21, 2011)



SYNOPSIS:
Roxi Gold has been shuttled from one foster home to another for most her life. She longs for a family and will do anything to fit in even if it's against the law. Soon she's traveling the country in an RV, stealing rare books from unsuspecting bookstores. She knows it's wrong, but if she refuses, she'll be put out on the streets. Police officer Abby Dawson has seen the worst of society, and not just at work. One fateful night a man's innocent blood changes both Roxi's and Abby's lives forever. One searches for justice; the other finds herself on the run until a first edition of The Great Gatsby catches up with her.

REVIEW:
I was wary to read this book because I was so disappointed with the first book THICKER THAN BLOOD. The author graciously read my negative review of that book and asked me to read and review this second book. I just thought she was a glutton for punishment, but as I cracked open BOUND BY GUILT and found myself blazing through chapter after chapter, I realized why she was confidently sending me this book. It is actually pretty good!
This story kept me captivated till the very end. There are many layers to the story and it’s very well paced.  Granted some of the characters weren’t as fully vibrant as they could have been, but she twisted a good tale around them. Abby, the police woman, is strong, harsh and bold. I liked her but Jan was my favorite character and the most three dimensional in the book. I anticipated learning that Jan was controlling with selfish motives, but it never came about. She is loving and forgiving, a reflection of the nature of Jesus, even after all the damage in her life.
Okay, now about that “Christian” aspect of this book… The preaching was noticeably toned down from the first book. Which is a plus! There was less jibber-jabber about religiosity and more heartfelt actions that reflect the values of the bible. Which is what I’d rather read than preachy fiction. And the author didn’t make us to go to church in this book to see God in the story. (Thank you!) The ending was touching and satisfying even though there was some over-explaining in the end. Some things can be left unsaid and our imaginations can make the connection to faith principles.

RATING:
Regardless of the negative points... This story touched me. I loved Roxi’s ending, I was nearly in tears. When emotion is evoked from a story, you know the author succeeded. I’d rate it at a 3: A good read, no regrets. It’s worth the time to read especially compared to the first book. The cover is pretty and I like the combination of antique books and the ranch (again).


RECOMMENDATIONS:
I’d recommend this book to Christians who love a good mystery. I think this book would be appropriate for teens and adults alike.