where faith is hard to come by
When Sibella Giorella won a Christy Award for her debut novel, The Stones Cry Out, one had to wonder if she could maintain the momentum and offer an even stronger sophomore offering. The Rivers Run Dry answers that question with a rousing “yes” as we are once again taken into the sometimes tumultuous world of Special Agent Raleigh Harmon. Raleigh is a strong female lead with a background in geology and a penchant for plunging ahead with a case even if it gets her transferred for disciplinary reasons across country.
Raleigh has barely landed in Seattle before she is thrown into the perplexing case of a missing nineteen year old girl whose wealthy parents might have more bothering them than their snobbish wealth. Solving the case isn’t made any easier as Raleigh has to face numerous personal and professional challenges. Her boss treats her like a glorified coffee girl, her mother lives in the depth of despair, and her aunt is a new age believer in the power of crystals who persists in sending her unwelcomed clairvoyant friend to help Raleigh on cases.
Giorella gives us characters with real depth. Raleigh and her mother have both been profoundly changed by the murder of her father. The Aunt is not just some nutcase but rather a woman who feels failed by her lifelong faith and now seeks answers wherever she thinks she can find them. Raleigh’s faith is stretched to the limits by a job that leads her to places from which she may not be able to return. Even her abusive supervisor proves to be human as he seeks to help a female informant in desperate need of redemption from her life of drugs and crime.
One of the things that make this story work is the details. Raleigh Harmon’s parking space (fifteen blocks from the Bureau building) and government issued car (the oldest in the fleet) tell us more about what her superiors think of her than any dialogue could. There are no neatly packaged family epiphanies at the end. Raleigh’s aunt is embarking on yet another new age enterprise and her mother is just beginning to emerge from her depression. What we have instead is the story of a woman of faith working in a profession where faith is hard to come by. But, as Raleigh walks off the pages of this latest installment of her life we have no doubt she will maintain that balancing act with grace and strength.
Can’t wait for Raleigh Harmon’s return in Giorello’s upcoming third novel, The Clouds Roll Away.
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: March 2009
This entry was posted on Sunday, November 29th, 2009 at 9:38 am and is filed under Book Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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