As I starting reading the first page of the latest book by Carl Brookins, I found myself entering into a space where I have often gone. Even as one of the main characters studied the way the sanctuary was presented, I could hear the soft music playing in the background. Perhaps someone was practicing or perhaps quiet meditative hymns were played in the church at all times. In any event words written by Brookins took on a life that was common for me...
ALAN Lockem stood in the back of the sanctuary of the church, leaning against the wall. His arms were crossed. He hadn't been in that church since his baptism seventy-plus years earlier. The sanctuary wasn't large; it held maybe 250 worshippers on a busy Sunday.
He stared at the pulpit, a simple lectern of finely crafted and polished white oak. It was draped with a banner in royal blue that carried a gold representation of the traditional Protestant Christian church. Behind the pulpit was the choir loft, a series of hand-made wooden chairs in a box. Against the back wall, behind the pulpit stood the altar.
In this church, it was a well-designed table that could be moved about the elevated platform as appropriate for different celebrations and services. The elevated platform or stage stretched across the breadth of the space, four wooden steps above the floor of the sanctuary with its fixed rows of wooden pews. Above the altar, against the wall of the building the arrangement of organ pipes, both real and false, soared in a precise arrangement of several rows, some extending to the ceiling thirty feet overhead.
As bespoke the modern church, the vaulted wood-sheathed ceiling that reached high overhead was festooned with high intensity lights, speakers, and a network of black connecting wires. Two walls carried multiple well-crafted stained glass windows that displayed fragments of important Christian messages from the Bible.
Between the pews and the steps to the altar, a long strip of bright yellow plastic tape hung from the railings on each side of the space and displayed a different message repeated in black block type.
CRIME SCENE DO NOT CROSS
A church setting is often used for many fictional novels in the Christian faith. Perhaps it is to remind us that, even in the church, participants can commit sins of the flesh. Indeed, once Alan had studied the "scene of the crime," he went on to where the sin of murder had occurred. Was he surprised that one of the victims was the pastor of the church? And who and why was the young woman there in the church with him? Perhaps a natural assumption was that the two individuals had been involved in an affair. That was, of course, one of the options that Alan Lockem and his partner in more ways than one, Marjorie Kane would explore.
characters are retired professionals who continue to be involved even in their declining years. I have interacted with the writer online and found him to be a concerned citizens of America, as well as having an avid involvement in the Arts, sharing about his experiences often about this symphony or another program. It was easy for this reader to place him into the main character's role and I found getting to know him and his family life was heartwarming. Much like another favorite writer of mine Aaron Lazar, who often sets his mysteries in his home environment where he's constantly tending his garden, dealing with children... Both write not quite "cozy" but similar in style, just with more complex, and often extraordinary, in the type of plot created. I enjoy both types, of course...as an avid fan of all things mysterious...