Book 3 in the Roux River Bayou Series finds Sax Henry, a jazz saxaphone player from New Orleans, showing up on Adele Woodmore's doorstep. Sax has been in search of his missing sister for 3 years and Adele is his last hope of finding her. Sax's personal life is a mess and in finding his sister and making amends he hopes to finally find the peace and restoration he has been searching for. But Adele is not too sure about this stranger and her fierce protective instincts take over. But Sax is determined and desperate to find Shelby and peace and he'll do anything that will take him one step closer to his goal. Even if that means staying in a tourist town where a bioterrorist has surfaced. Little does he know that his sister is really right before his eyes, but she might not have the peace that his is so desperately searching for.
Emily's new friend Chance is hit with the devastating news that both of his parents have just died from cyanide poisoning. As more people are admitted to the hospital and the news of more deaths hit the news, the police department is working 24/7 to find out what is going on. Finding that water bottles have been injected with the poison and with no one taking responsibility for the act, they are not succumbing to rumors that it is a terrorist organization wreaking havoc. They have to dig deep and work around the clock to come up with any links to who might be doing it and with keeping panic in the community down. Emily meanwhile has her hands full in helping Chance deal with his grief. But as Chance depends more and more on her instead of on his family Vanessa and Emily's co-workers start to question the amount of time and work she is investing in helping Chance.
I love this installment in the series. The author, through the characters of Sax and Shelby (Zoe) explores our search for peace in our lives and where true peace comes from. She also continues the theme of mercy and grace that she presented in book 2 of the series (reviewed above). Though Zoe had been shown mercy and grace that changed her life, she struggled to give it to her brother whom she loved and trusted and was her rock as a child and then felt had abandoned her in the most horrific of circumstances. It is a struggle that many of us also face when presented with it. I love how real her character was and how that dilemma was not made easy by the author. While I felt a little bit like the mystery part of the story was a bit disconnected from this part of the story the author wove the main theme into that as well towards the end. The character of Emily, though frustrating at times had to make me smile. She was the typical young adult; stubborn, loyal to a fault with her friends, thought she knew better, refusing to heed to caution but her character really became courageous.
All in all I really liked this series. The author was very good at re-introducing and connecting a few characters from her former series, the Sohpie Trace Trilogy and in continuing to develop the personalities first introduced in book one of this series. She really made me care about the main characters and the tough issues they were facing. The mystery kept me on the edge of my seat and turning the pages. And I like how her books are not just mysteries but each carry life changing messages about issues we all face.