Monday, December 29, 2014

A Cry From the Dust by Carrie Stuart Parks

A secret from a grim page of American history threatens to destroy thousands of lives.
Gwen Marcey was tops in her forensic field. Then cancer struck, her husband left, and her teenage daughter engaged in active rebellion. Gwen's best chance to start a new life was a temporary job in Utah reconstructing faces from an 1857 massacre site.
The Mountain Meadows Interpretative Center asked Gwen to reconstruct the faces of three intact bodies that were discovered from the wagon train massacre of more than 120 people by Mormon fanatics calling themselves Avenging Angels. But just as she is nearing completion on her reconstructions, things around the center turn deadly.
Gwen discovers the ritualized murder of a young college student with a stolen identity and is called on by the local police to use her forensic art skills to aid the investigation. Soon she discovers an uncanny resemblance between one of her reconstructions and the death mask of Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon church. And realizes that she's the next target of the recreated Avenging Angels who believe she has an icon from the grave.
Gwen must weave through a labyrinth of Mormon history, discovering secret societies and festering grudges in a race against time.
Will she be able to stop another massacre?
My review:
    The saying "don't judge a book by its cover" does hold true. The cover of this book didn't appeal to me at all, and I almost passed on it as a book to review, but the book and author both sounded interesting, so I requested it. And then I started to read it and discovered it was written from the first person point of view, not a favorite of mine. But I kept reading. And got sucked into a great story. I really intended to read some of it and finish it another day, but it was too good to put down, so with a break for supper and few drink and bathroom breaks, I read on and until I finished the book.
   Maybe I don't remember everything I studied in history, or I just never studied the Mountain Meadows Massacre, but I don't remember ever hearing about it. The book is fictional, but is based on that very real event. The author spun a fascinating and suspenseful story using that event and other history about the Mormons and their leader, Joseph Smith.

   I liked the characters in the book, although there were a few surprises with some of them, and although the plot was convoluted and intricate, it was easy to follow. The author has experience in forensics, and that came through in the book. And I really found the historical information about the Mormons fascinating and learned more about the religion while reading this book, and the interesting theories and ideas about the famous (at least to other people) massacre.
  This is a debut novel for this author, and she has hit one out of the park. Anyone who reads it should give it five stars, for it is worthy of five stars. It is truly a terrific read, and I look forward to reading the next book by this author.
About the author:

Carrie Stuart Parks is an award-winning fine artist and internationally known forensic artist. Along with her husband, Rick, she travels across the US and Canada teaching courses in forensic art to law enforcement as well as civilian participants. She has won numerous awards for career excellence. Carrie is a popular platform speaker, presenting a variety of topics from crime to creativity. 

Animals have always been a large part of her life. Her parents, Ned and Evelyn Stuart, started Skeel Kennel Great Pyrenees in 1960. Carrie inherited the kennel and continues with her beloved dogs as both an AKC judge and currently president of the Great Pyrenees Club of America. She lives on the same ranch she grew up on in Northern Idaho.

Check out her website at

A Cry From the Dust is available from Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Thanks to BookLook Bloggers for the review copy.