Brandilyn Collins,
Hidden Faces #2: Stain of Guilt
(Zondervan, 2004)

On the surface, a life that looks like it's intact can be deceiving. The fact is, it could be hiding a closet so full of skeletons that one could be buried in bones when the door is opened.

Brandilyn Collins' book Stain of Guilt is a perfect example of how the past becomes the future. When a death takes place, all eyes and sympathy naturally goes to the grieving family. But what if there's a dark cloud surrounding the loss? How many times have money and influence fooled us?

That's exactly what occurs when two men are gunned down and the suspected killer is accused of embezzling money from their company. Justice for this horrific crime is the only way an affluent loving wife and her son can find peace. After two decades of hoping the killer would be caught, they turn one last time to the detective handling the ice-cold case. Luckily for them, he wants one last jab at it before his upcoming retirement. He puts them in touch with Annie Kingston, an age progression artist. With her help the killer's face will be plastered on national TV, bringing his days as a fugitive to a screeching halt.

Reluctantly, Annie agrees to take the assignment, and from that point on chaos and fear for herself and her family comes to the forefront of the story. Adding to her worries is a rebellious son and an ex-husband who won't get involved in raising the children. Her daughter, on the other hand, is a sweet and aspiring matchmaker, weaving a web to hook her and their neighbor up.

Soon Annie is receiving dead roses and calls warning her to drop the assignment. When threats don't work, she's kidnapped by the suspected killer, who tells her he didn't kill the two men. She doesn't believe him, and soon she escapes. But, to her amazement, she hears days later that new evidence implicates a different killer. A new suspect comes on the horizon, shocking Annie with the realization she had the public looking for an innocent man.

Although this book was a good read, I have to say I knew the end right from the beginning. It didn't have me guessing at all, nor wondering how it was all going to turn out. My spine didn't tingle and I didn't feel the need, as I usually do, to read something that startled me over and over again. I liked the storyline, and the characters were believable, but there was never any suspense.

review by
Renee Harmon

20 October 2007

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