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The Dunn Deal (A Christine Sterling Mystery) (The Christine Sterling Mystery Trilogy) Paperback – March 1, 2012
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A death, a murder, the occult, a paramilitary organization, a potentially corrupt sheriff's office, a nosy reporter, a diva, a missing dog, bikers, Goths, a surprise ending, and a woman trying to piece together her own investigation among lies, rumor and innuendo all to clear a deputy's name. This is The Dunn Deal, the second in the Christine Sterling trilogy.
You don't need to read the first book in the series to be swept up and carried along in this book. The beginning is strong and sets up the story nicely. Suspicion builds gradually over time, just enough to pique our interest and tickle our brain. Catherine Leggitt creates characters we believe in and want to root for, and we happily go along for the ride. Her word pictures are painted so vividly, we see, hear, smell and feel everything that's happening. We are transported to locations and situations seamlessly without much thought. Thankfully, this isn't true for the limited mention of the occult. This is handled well without being graphic.
Suspense builds slowly. Clues and information are provided at just the right times so we don t feel spoon-fed or hand-held through the story. We can piece together our own ideas through Christine's eyes. We are hooked and kept guessing, as many answers aren't provided until the surprise ending.
Christine is wonderfully sculpted and drawn, from her interest in Zora Jane's fashion sense to her questioning why God created weeds. Her humor and honesty make her someone you'd love to have coffee with. Her humanness shines through and we see ourselves in her. She is just like us. Ordinary. But trusts in her instincts, which sometimes gets her into trouble, and follows her heart. We follow her as she links one bit of evidence after another, assumptions that sometimes become fact. We root for her as we follow her on her journey to unveil the truth behind the lies and rumors. And we know, despite all her shortcomings, the Lord will use her to solve this mystery.
The way her faith is, at times, weak is refreshing. We identify with her frailties and doubts because we are all like that, at some point or another. Having Zora Jane there to build Christine (and us) up with her unwavering faith in her Lord and His ability to handle anything is a wonderful reminder that we, too, need to trust and obey. The recurring theme of waiting on the Lord for He is good and has promised to never leave us, is a comfort. And the thought-provoking discussion questions at the end of the book are perfect for any book club or Bible study.
Anticipation builds throughout the story with several heart-stopping episodes. I didn't want to put the book down, and couldn't wait to pick it up. That to me is the sign of a good book. As an editor, I read for a living, and find it hard to find a book that keeps my interest. The fact The Dunn Deal had me reading late into the night, and enjoying the journey, proves this book is well worth the read.
--Janet Dimond, January 2012
About the Author
PAYNE & MISERY is scheduled for release in November, 2011. The next two books in the series will be published in 2012.
More About the Author
Catherine offers one free book to a book club that reads one of her novels. She is available for discussion via phone, or in person if the club is based in Northern California.
PAYNE & MISERY--the first adventure in the Christine Sterling Mystery series--placed second at the Orange County Christian Writer's Conference in 2010 and was initially published by Westbow Press. In 2012, Ellechor Publishing House picked up the series of three. Within each story, Christine struggles with a spiritual mystery while also pursuing the solution to a murder. In PAYNE & MISERY, Christine learns to stop complaining and choose joy while searching for her missing neighbor, Lila Payne. The second book, THE DUNN DEAL, finds Christine searching for absolute truth as she investigates the murder of Deputy Baxter Dunn. In the third book, PARRISH THE THOUGHT, Christine discovers her own prejudiced heart while trying to rescue a teenager accused of murdering Nevada City matron, Bessie Parrish. PARRISH THE THOUGHT made the quarter finals of the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest.
The Road to Terminus was published in September of 2015 by Mountainview Books.
During Catherine's first career--after raising children and before caring for her aging parents--enjoyed teaching in the San Bernardino public school system, where she developed a flair for playacting and storytelling. Struggling with retirement, Catherine needed a distraction and found it at her keyboard.
Top Customer Reviews
The story is told from Christine's point-of-view (first person), so it's easy to either be highly amused by her antics or to just plain be annoyed. Because of some of her interactions with others (like her husband), I'm not fully on the latter end of the spectrum, but pretty close.
For a book that highly prizes the Truth, Christine doesn't seem to be above evading it in personal matters in order to protect herself from a lecture or to get away with what she wants. One of the discussion questions at the end suggests that the author made Christine to be a flawed character whose every decision should probably not be emulated...but at the same time, there seems to be mixed messages about truth when Christine constantly makes the same mistakes while the case is ultimately solved.
Christine's husband, Jesse, comes across as wishy-washy on occasion, not quite determined enough to really work through some of these issues. However, the romance between this older couple is quite wonderful. It's fun to see the protective nature and the caring ways of a couple whose honeymoon ended many years ago. Jesse is a unique and adorable hero!
As for Molly, the pet modeled on the cover, I'm torn. She is a sweet addition to the story, but her addition sometimes comes across as forced.Read more ›
In this case, the mysterious death of Deputy Sheriff Baxter Dunn, son-in-law of Christine's close friends and neighbors Ed and Zora Jane Callahan, cries for help from someone outside the official investigation being conducted by the sheriff's department in a rural California county. And Christine is just the person to do it, getting even deeper into the investigation when her beloved border collie, Molly, is seized by a mysterious group of armed men who might have been involved in Dunn's death.
Trying simultaneously to rescue Molly and dig out the details of Dunn's murder leads Sterling into many perilous escapades. The middle-aged sleuth begins to become more aware of her age and physical restrictions while pursuing the case, but doesn't let that stop her. She also, step by step, relies more on God and her good Christian friend, Zora Jane, to help her overcome hazardous situations.
Leggitt is an excellent writer whose keen observations and sense of humor come through in her characters. This volume is another quick and easy read, and a book that readers of mysteries will find rewarding. Keep 'em coming, Catherine!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Well plotted tale, interesting characters, and Christian testimonies make this an engaging read. Lack of gory scenes was also appreciated.Published 9 months ago by Laura Latzke
Well, it took me until chapter 10 to start enjoying the book. I loved the part when they prayed for "the release of the shoe!" That was about all I liked except for a happy ending. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Letterluvinglass
Of course, it was easy to become frustrated with the main character's decision making skills, endangering herself, her friends, and her dog as she blundered along. Read morePublished 11 months ago by L. Bembenek
I really enjoyed this book, maybe even more than her first book!Published 16 months ago by Karen M.
I was thoroughly delighted as I vicariously joined Christine Sterling on the zany adventures she coerced her no nonsense husband Jesse, best friend Zora Jane and loyal dog Molly... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Judy Rebeiro
I didn't care much for this book. It was not realistic. No one in their right mind would get themselves in to the predicaments the author wants us to believe happened. Read morePublished 18 months ago by BHS65