The Truth Seeker
Dee Henderson is an author who successfully combines two sub-genres of romance: inspirational romance and romantic suspense. And though her books certainly have a spiritual focal point, Henderson does not overload her writing with heavy doses of scripture or moralizing. So if this sub-genre is new to you, and you are looking to try out an inspirational romance, The Truth Seeker would be a very good place to start.
Lisa O’Malley is a forensic pathologist and part of a loving and involved but rather patchwork family. She herself was a product of the foster care system until she wound up at Trevor House orphanage and got absorbed into a group of kids who bonded and decided to make their own family. As a result of many difficult past experiences, Lisa is rather closed and tries to keep an emotional distance from most people, including, sometimes, her many beloved siblings. Her feelings come out in the two ways she finds acceptable – in her work and with her motley assortment of pets.
Quinn Diamond is a U.S. Marshal and the partner of Lisa’s brother Marcus. Burdened with the need to discover who killed his father, he’s never settled into a relationship. When the story begins, it has already been twenty years since his father was murdered, and Quinn is beginning to think that he may never realize his goal of bringing the murderer to justice. He arrives in Chicago pursuing a lead and winds up getting involved in a case that Lisa is investigating. He intends to be only friendly with Marcus’s younger sister, but he finds her more compelling than he would have predicted. Still, there’s the problem of faith. He’s a Christian, and she’s not. Can they overcome this barrier, or will Lisa find reason to believe?
This being an inspirational romance, the last question is perhaps predictably answered. But nothing else in the book is predictable. It twists and turns as both Lisa’s and Quinn’s cases heat up. I found the forensic pathology angle quite fascinating, and Henderson included just enough “shop talk,” to keep me interested and guessing. The book moved along at a very steady clip.
I also appreciated the fact that the characters knew each other to begin with and got to know each other even better during the course of the book. The Truth Seeker is the third book in the O’Malley series, and apparently Lisa and Quinn made appearances in The Guardian, which is Marcus’ story. So at the beginning of the book they are already somewhat acquainted, and Quinn is fully familiar and comfortable with her family. This is a kisses-only book, and some people might find that off-putting. But I actually enjoyed the fact that these two didn’t get to know each other via hormones or after the sexual fact. I’ve read a lot of books recently where I’ve felt like the only thing the hero and heroine had going for them was sexual attraction. This is certainly not the case here. By the end of the story, I felt that Lisa and Quinn had a very good understanding of each other and could therefore make a lasting successful commitment.
I have two small quibbles with the book, however. The first is that I found the constant appearance of the other O’Malleys to be somewhat distracting, and occasionally I thought the protective behavior of Lisa’s brothers was rather adolescent. If you like male characters who are “protective” and “chivalrous,” then the O’Malley brothers will be right up your alley. Their behavior made me a little uncomfortable though.
The second quibble I have is that for a very bright, well educated woman, Lisa makes some rather ill-advised decisions that get her into big trouble. I couldn’t understand how she could use her intelligence to extrapolate important clues from obscure data and then overlook some glaring dangers signs in her own life.
Still, despite its flaws I think that The Truth Seeker is a well-written, fast and fun read. The characters were very sympathetic, the plot was absorbing, and the emotions felt real and not rushed or hormonally based. The rest of the series looks interesting, and I think we can expect more good things from this author – after all, of five books reviewed here at AAR, all have gotten grades of B, which may be a record in itself.