Gotta love a book with multiple storylines – it’s like reading several books at once – and then at the end, it all comes together for the main event!
The shocking first story line begins with a crime scene. The bodies of a reverend and his two children are discovered, and the mother is nowhere to be found. Interestingly, a partial print of the culprit is found that matches 3 different identities on the police database.Read more: Salvation Station by Kathryn Schleich
Similarly, the second story line is steeped in underhand behaviour. Just as Reverend Ray’s televised church programme is on its knees, about to become mere a memory to its small congregation, along comes Susannah Baker, brimming with ideas on not only how to save the show but to take it new giddy heights.
But it’s the means that give cause for concern. Susannah suggests using microphones to record congregation members talking amongst themselves, only for the reverend to address the congregation members directly, providing the Will of God, to assist the reverend in healing them of their troubles. And this just the beginning for the show!
Susannah’s suggestions see the Salvation Station show come on leaps and bounds under her influence, raking in thousands of dollars in donations. Reverend Ray and his 2 main co-workers are reluctant at first, but once the scheme gets going, and over time, Reverend Ray begins really falling for this woman who seemingly came from nowhere.
Meanwhile, back in the initial storyline police captain Linda Turner is working on a theory about an orphan repeating a pattern of switching identities and preying on men of the cloth. At the same time, Ray’s trusty co-workers grow more suspicious of Susannah, and even ask a pal in the police force to do some digging.
At about the 60% mark of the book, the two storylines begin to come together as Captain Turner goes undercover. Things don’t go smoothly however, as smaller sub plots that have been bubbling away, start to play out from repercussions of what’s happened so far.
At the three-quarter point of the book, things really heat-up! There are a couple of uncommonly close calls and even a body count! (No spoilers!) It was at this juncture that I moved from drawn in to completely hooked. Many characters are worse off from being connected to Susannah, but more than one character sees a victory of sorts (again no spoilers!).
When I read the synopsis, I could see there were multiple storylines, and when I saw that chapters were headed with dates and places, I was concerned that I’d have difficulty keeping track of events, but in fact, I was extremely impressed with how well the book flowed so flawlessly together, completely chronological and seamless.
I felt a satisfaction, when the initial suspicion, which was laid on thick as concrete, felt more justified as the story played out. It was also interesting that the story could have played out in different ways at certain junctures that could pave the way for some interesting fan-fiction writing. For example, a court scene could have been interesting, or a deep reflection from Susannah for her most heinous deeds.
The setting of a religious campaign makes for a dramatic contrast for the deception and close calls and murders that play out, and you’ll find yourself easily invested in the characters’ stories!