Theresa's Secret Legacy

Christian - Fiction
322 Pages
Reviewed on 08/10/2018
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Author Biography

Ray McGinley is a retired electrical engineer having spent thirty-five years with Honeywell Aerospace where he received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. He grew up in northeast Philadelphia, attended LaSalle High School, and received a BS degree from Drexel University. He holds several patents related to aircraft electrical power systems. Before relocating to Arizona in 1974, he was a member of the Big Brothers Association and was a company clerk in the US Army Reserve. He has been married to Kathleen (nee Flanagan) since 1972; they have six children and thirteen grandchildren. His most recent short story, “What to do with a Pot of Gold,” was published in Liguorian magazine in October, 2017.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Theresa’s Secret Legacy is a work of Christian fiction by author Ray McGinley. The title character is the sister of our protagonist, Chris Brennan, who sadly receives the news that his sister is dead right at the novel’s opening. When the police examine her surroundings, they decide that depression and suicide must be the cause of death, but Chris suspects otherwise. He knows his sister, and so he begins his journey to discover why her life has ended so tragically soon. What follows is a journey to uncover the court case Theresa was reporting on, wherein a Native American tribe attempts to fight for their right to build a new casino. As the plot thickens, Chris relies on his faith to guide him to the ugly truth about Theresa’s death.

For a work of Christian fiction, the central concept of faith was dealt with delicately and very much as a background feature of the novel, which I thought was a masterful stroke. Chris Brennan is a very likeable protagonist who cares very deeply for his sister, and the plot that Ray McGinley has constructed around Chris’s desire to uncover the real truth is well conceived and cleverly done. Fans of cozy mystery type stories will certainly appreciate that angle, and those who enjoy a good legal drama won’t be disappointed either. Theresa’s Secret Legacy is a winding, intriguing tale with heart at its core, and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a non-explicit but exciting drama to curl up with.

Christian Sia

Theresa’s Secret Legacy by Ray McGinley begins with interesting episodes of the protagonist’s childhood. Readers encounter Chris, George and Theresa, all children in 1977, growing up in a good Christian family. The reader immediately understands that there is a powerful bond between the siblings, that their parents are keen on building their sense of sin through the Sacraments, and they are fond of each other. Fast forward to 2011, when Chris gets a surprise visit from the police who inform him that Theresa has died and that it seems like it was suicide — alcohol and an antidepressant drug were found beside her — and that she has also named Chris as her personal representative. Chris sets out to investigate the death of his sister in Phoenix. First, he can’t imagine Theresa taking her own life or being depressed, because she had a good job as a court reporter for a federal judge and she had been involved with charity work. Could her death be related to the casino case involving power and money, a case the judge had been working? Follow him as he unveils secrets about his sister’s life, and gets to know Tiponi, a pregnant teenager of American Indian descent who had strong ties to his sister. The more he digs into Theresa’s life, the more his own life is in danger. Does he have the courage to complete the work his sister had started and can he rely on God for answers?

A very engaging and well-narrated story that melds elements of Christianity with murder to create a delightful read. Ray McGinley writes beautifully and his narrative is filled with humor. The author has the gift of grabbing the attention of readers, and the narrative style is designed to keep readers turning the pages. He creates characters that are very realistic and builds exciting worlds for them to inhabit. The Christian themes are explored well throughout the narrative, the humanity of the characters coming out clearly as the reader navigates the hidden places of their hearts. Theresa’s Secret Legacy is fast paced and gripping, a novel with many surprises and plot twists that add to the quality of the excitement it creates.

Divine Zape

Theresa's Secret Legacy by Ray McGinley is a beautifully written crime novel, suspenseful, and with strong hints of Christian themes, set against a religious backdrop of innocence in 1977 and 2011. Christopher Brennan wakes up with a visit from Officer Frank Kelly of the Seattle Police, who informs him that his sister, Theresa, who lives and works in Phoenix as a court reporter, may have committed suicide. How could Theresa, a good Catholic and a woman known for her charity work, be so depressed to the point of committing suicide? The officer also says they found her will which names Chris as her Personal Representative. Chris is stunned and, determined to find out the truth, travels to Phoenix, but what awaits him is more than anything he could have imagined. His life is in danger as he fights to clear his sister’s reputation and discover the truth about her death. Who really took her life?

Ray McGinley is a great storyteller and he hooked me from the very first page, with George and Chris’s experience of confession. It reminded me of my childhood and what my first confession felt like, and besides having a vague notion of sin, the sense of awe attached to the experience is brilliantly portrayed in the opening chapter of this story. The humor has a finesse that is rare. For instance, the conversation between the two young brothers on their way to confession is humorous: “'What if we just say a prayer and skip confession?' I said. 'Who would know?' 'Are you kidding, Chris? God would know. Then you would have another sin to confess next time.' The narrative voice is strong and reflects Chris’s point of view. Theresa's Secret Legacy features themes of crime, family, innocence, friendship, and faith, and these themes are skillfully developed in the narrative and brilliantly woven into the engaging dialogues. Excellent prose, compelling and believable characters, and exciting plot lines are some of the elements that make this story both entertaining and inspiring.