"CROOKED HOUSE: An Erica Coleman Mystery," by Marlene Bateman, Covenant Communications, $16.99, 256 pages (f)
When private investigator Erica Coleman received a phone call from her best friend's daughter, Megan, she knew something was terribly wrong.
Megan, a college student, feared that somebody was trying to kill her roommate, Liz, after a series of near-death "accidents" happened over a short period of time.
Knowing that she needed to help, Erica left her husband, two children and immaculately clean home in Farmington to travel to Dover, Delaware, where she would stay in a rundown, historical home, known as the "Crooked House," to solve a mystery.
Once there, it becomes clear that somebody is trying to harm Liz, and with a quick turn of events, the search is no longer for would-be killer, but for a murderer.
Soon, Erica finds herself immersed in an investigation where everyone is a suspect — everyone from the next door neighbor to the handyman to ex-boyfriends, best friends and even family members.
As the private investigator dives deeper into the case, she relies heavily on her obsessive-compulsive disorder to make sure she doesn't overlook any detail. She soon unearths a world of secrets that include all the motives of murder: love, money, greed and deception.
This thrilling mystery has surprising twists that keeps readers guessing until the very end. After that last page, there are 10 delicious recipes that have been alluded to throughout the book — something that is included in all Erica Coleman mysteries.
Author Marlene Bateman includes several LDS Church ties throughout the story. Both Erica and Liz are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and there are several mentions of church doctrine woven throughout the story.
The author does a great job of creating a thrilling mystery that includes much of what mainstream mysteries do, but without the use of foul language or adult content.
At 256 pages, this book is a fairly quick, yet very enjoyable read.
Arianne Brown is a mother of six young children. Her downtime is spent running the trails of the Wasatch Mountains and beyond. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org or search her Facebook page A Mother's Write. Twitter: arimom6