Thursday, April 28, 2022

ALL THAT IS SECRET by Patricia Raybon, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"Truth doesn't stay hidden. Neither do secrets. One day, to a praying heart, they disclose themselves."

When theology professor Annalee Spain leaves her teaching position at a Chicago Bible College in response to a puzzling telegram, the details surrounding the death of her father in Denver, Colorado become her new mission . . . why did someone want a weathered-old-nobody cowboy dead? What had he seen? Who did he know? How could Joe Spain have been a threat to anyone?

Annalee arrives at her destination under duress. Picking up a familiar stray orphan in the baggage car was just one of her worries. The biggest surprise (besides running for her life and hiding under a rail car) was that Reverend Blake, the assumed sender of her summons, was not at all who she expected . . . he was much younger, and far more handsome . . . than his aged uncle. The question was, how far would a popular young black pastor go, ministering in a klan-invested city like Denver, to fuel Annalee's amateur detective tendencies?
What a breath of fresh air ! . . . with its clever, creepy, corrupt criminals and its invigorating, innovative, inventive heroine this book will capture the rapt attention of many a sleuth! Its pages practically turn themselves (not really, but it sure seemed like it), for there are a wealth of clues to follow and three characters who can barely keep up with their own story. Romantic? Absolutely. Spiritual depth? Let's just say that Jack Blake is born to preach, (and in spite of, and maybe because of Annalee's muted protests) any time, anywhere!

I'm just glad this is only the beginning of time spent with Annalee Spain! 
*I received a copy from the publisher but was under no obligation to provide a positive review. 4.5 stars 
*Deb's Mini-Review:
 Historical mysteries are my favorite genre, so I was eager to listen to ALL THAT IS SECRET and its interesting (and rare) era and setting, and Black female sleuth. Yes. Listen. I was able to listen on my Hoopla app thanks to whatever library ordered it. Here's a good time to say that the narration was wonderful! 

Ms. Raybon's storytelling pulled me along from chapter to chapter. I credit this to her protagonist, perfectly immersive setting details, and a very compelling mystery full of multiple secrets and possible villains. It gave great insight into this dark era, and the bright light of faith that kept so many going when just being in the wrong place could lead to death. I had a few moments with actions that felt like a stretch, early on, but I remained too busy caring about the story and characters to stop reading. I will definitely pick up the next story in Annalee Spain's interesting life!
BackCover Blurb:
From award-winning author Patricia Raybon comes a compelling new historical mystery series, a riveting puzzle confronting the hidden secrets of class, race, family, and love.

Can an amateur detective solve the cold case mystery of her lost father’s murder?

In the winter of 1923, Professor Annalee Spain—a daring but overworked theologian at a small Chicago Bible college—receives a cryptic telegram calling her home to Denver to solve the mystery of the murder of her beloved but estranged father.

For a young Black woman, searching for answers in a city ruled by the KKK could mean real danger. Still, with her literary hero Sherlock Holmes as inspiration, Annalee launches her hunt for clues, attracting two surprising allies: Eddie, a relentless young white boy searching for his missing father, and Jack, a handsome Black pastor who loves nightclub dancing and rides in his sporty car, awakening Annalee’s heart to the surprising highs and lows of romantic love.

With their help, Annalee follows clues that land her among Denver’s powerful elite. But when their sleuthing unravels sinister motives and deep secrets, Annalee confronts the dangerous truths and beliefs that could make her a victim too.
Tyndale House Publishing, October, 2021
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook:
Buy ALL THAT IS SECRET at Amazon, Christianbook .com, or Baker Book House

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