Death Under the Steeple

A Black Mountain Mystery

Fiction - Mystery - Sleuth
275 Pages
Reviewed on 05/06/2024
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Nino Lobiladze for Readers' Favorite

In Death Under the Steeple by Ruben D. Gonzales, the third book in the Black Mountain Mystery series, Pastor William Bennett is found dead at Living Waters Church in Black Mountain, North Carolina. He has a gunshot wound to the head, but the weapon is missing. Emma Shaw, a local photo studio owner and an amateur private investigator, studies the case. Her father, Logan, is a suspect because he had a heated argument with the young pastor right before his death. Emma can see through people, reading their auras. It's a unique gift she inherited from her Cherokee grandmother. But the more Emma learns about the pastor and Living Waters Church, the more puzzling the case becomes. What is Logan hiding from her? And is it possible that the pastor took his own life?

In Death Under the Steeple, Ruben D. Gonzales brilliantly describes a drama that unfolds in a little mountain town. The hidden motives of Black Mountain's community members create captivating intrigue. The quick-paced narrative is character-driven and reveals the characters in depth. Emma is a no-nonsense woman. Her business skills are impressive, yet she is insecure when it comes to her love life. Ruben offers an interesting metaphor regarding a fireplace, which Emma craves but still hasn't finished in her apartment. It makes us wonder whether Emma lacks emotional warmth in her life. Logan, Emma's father, is a secondary character, yet he stands out. Logan is stubborn and has a dark past. But he loves the Word of God and reveals his surprising side in a delicate situation. The descriptive element is excellent. We can feel the chill in the crisp air when Emma walks her dog, Blue, early in the morning. I like the author's expressive writing style and highly recommend this gripping mystery that will appeal to fans of mystery, detective novels, crime dramas, and books with leading female characters.