My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Let me start by saying I like this book. I’m new to Catherine Finger’s writing, but I appreciate her willingness to put herself on the line with this story. Cleansed By Death is uncomfortable, edgy, eye-opening and even an expose in some degree. It doesn’t glorify domestic abuse, but rather shows the weakness that can plague even a strong woman.
One might assume that a woman carrying a badge and a gun would never be a victim. Meet Josie Oliver, the Chief of Police in a village precinct in Illinois, recognized for her investigative abilities by an old school friend who is now a state governor; and an abused wife.
In the general spirit of an abuser, her husband Del, also a police officer, justifies his hatred and abuse with whatever he finds convenient. Like many victims, she buys into that for a while. The primary mistake – failure to report his actions, until he takes it too far. We witness Jo’s fear and inability to report what is taking place in her life to her fellow officers. After all, she’s the Chief. And she’s ashamed. Then he leaves her for another woman, taking pretty much everything; even threatening her in his divorce actions. But really, that’s not the focus of the story.
The focus is on need. First, the task force’s need to apprehend the Mentor Sister Serial Killer, a man with a horrific agenda to ravage and destroy women. He’s evil, he’s focused, and he appears to be drawing closer to Jo. When the governor’s wife, another of her high school friends, becomes his latest victim, Jo is called into the inner investigation circle. This puts her in daily contact with her best friend and first love, FBI Special Agent Nick Vitallero. I can suppose that some readers will have issues with a Christian themed book portraying characters that are faced with temptations, etc. Jo’s a married woman, and so forth.
Temptations are a part of the Christian life, and we overcome by the Blood of the Lamb. But Jo is not yet a Christian. That’s the primary need in the story. This case brings her into contemplation of the God she’s not sure she believes in. She’s searching, yet demonstrates remarkable restraint in her relationship with Nick. He offers comfort and flirtatious care, yes; but she also experiences the healing balm of God’s love through him and a few other characters.
Imagine feeling battered, ashamed and unworthy, and an amazing man calls you beautiful. Imagine feeling unloved, and another of God’s servants calls you my daughter. It’s God’s kindness that leads to repentance, and that holds true in this story.
Do they catch the killer? Of course. Are there additional elements to the story? Yes. It absolutely has to have a sequel, because the reader comes away with a sense of outrage and cry for God’s justice on Jo’s behalf. We’re not satisfied with the ending. Del just can’t get away like this. There has to be more. I love a story that engages my interest to the point that I’m demanding that the writer give me more. More strength, more fight, more victory for Jo. Not a happy ending, a God victorious one. I believe we’ll get our chance to see that. After all, this is book number one.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Publisher in exchange for my honest review.