Miranda Parker has penned a fast-paced murder mystery where family, religion, morality, and criminals collide on their way to a highly explosive ending. Evangeline Crawford, better known as Angel, is a nice preacher’s daughter who has made some questionable choices and begins working as a bounty hunter to support herself and her family.
When her estranged twin sister ends up on the wrong side of the law, Angel is forced to re-evaluate her family ties as she struggles to prove her sister is no murderer, a procedure complicated by the help and personal attentions of her own pastor. In order to prove Ava is innocent, Angel is forced to break some rules, call in a few favors, and learn that relying on herself for all the answers just won’t cut it.
I was most impressed by the detailed characterization of the main characters in A Good Excuse To Be Bad (July 2011). Ms Parker shows us their good, bad, and often combating personalities, showcasing the difficulties of the choices they make. Though the pacing was sometimes erratic, the energy of the story kept you locked into the involved and intense aspects of her plot. I found the roles of the local churches and clergy both interesting and controversial.
The interaction between family members offers us a clear and intimate picture of a woman who is trapped in self-doubt even as she struggles to do what she feels is right. As Angel says on page one, “If I weren’t so screwed up, I would have sold my soul a long time ago for a man who made me feel pretty.” Ms. Parker is very good at defining who each character is and using them to move her plot.
I think the situations in this book are directed at adults or older young adults. It was interesting for me to read the thoughts of someone who grew up as a preacher’s daughter and had a bad experience since I was lucky to have a good one. I do understand that churches can have a unique set of issues.
I recommend this book for those who enjoy intense character relationships, a combustible plot, and a strong but struggling central character who is willing to play both sides of the law to find the truth.
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