I have to admit I love a Kathy Herman mystery. I have read lots of her books over the years and have enjoyed every one of them. I was nicely surprised to see that characters from her last series are interwoven in this series too along with new main characters and a new setting. "False Pretenses" deals with lies and secrets. Zoe in trying to bury her old life and her shame, committed wrongful acts and wove such a story of deception that she could not even see her own sin even though she professed to be a believer. It was so easy to justify it all to herself. I, as the reader, was drawn in emotionally as you felt for what she was trying to hide but at the same time you wanted to shake her for trying to keep the pretense going and for not seeing that the lying is what got her into trouble in the first place. This story explores how we lie to ourselves when we justify those sins or pretend they don't exist. But as Zoe founds out, when it all comes knocking on our doors, as it eventually will, it just takes more lies and more deception to keep the pretense going to the point that you worry how you'll ever keep all the lies straight and eventually the shame she was trying to cover is added to with even more shame. Zoe finds out that even though hard at the time, the truth is always better, that lying and running will not set her free but binds her in even more ways than she thought possible. Woven into Zoe's struggle is a murder that shakes the town to it's core and threatens to stir up the racial tensions that they thought were long buried. The police department is stretched to the max trying to keep up with solving the murder of one of the town's favorite citizens while keeping a handle on the tension and violence starting to occur. I really like this author's ability to keep the mystery tension going throughout the story even while a character is dealing with some really difficult heart issues. I found it a great read that kept me interested all the way through and also presented me with some great things to think about as I dwelled on how "everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account" (Hebrews 4:13).
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