Unholy Alliance: Book Review

Unholy Alliance
A D.I. Frank Lyle Mystery
(Book Three)
Author: Juliet B Madison
Available on Amazon US & Amazon UK

DI Frank Lyle is about to confront the depths of human depravity and despair.

It’s autumn 1991 and a horde of Anglican clergy has just descended on Ashbeck for an ecumenical conference at St Luke’s church.

DI Lyle and his team are called in to investigate when the mutilated body of curate Martin Hayes is found in the churchyard. They are assisted by Canon Thomas Rice, a former police officer, who is able to see both sides of the coin. But who was Martin Hayes, and did aspects of his troubled past lead to his brutal demise?

As the team get closer to the truth they begin to understand Hayes. But will too much knowledge prove a dangerous thing?

Note: I received an advance-release copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

My Review: Frank Lyle is called on when the mutilated body of a clergyman is discovered. His team bands together to uncover secrets from Reverend Hayes' life in hopes his troubled past will give them clues as to who might have killed him. This case has Frank Lyle on edge and it doesn't help that an anonymous note delivered to his home casts uncertainty about his own family's safety. Time is of the essence and more people might be in danger than Lyle realized.

This is probably my favorite Frank Lyle mystery. It's by far the most complex and fast-paced story of the bunch. Frank is still true to character--he's loyal to his team, protective of his family, intelligent, and brave. Like the other Frank Lyle novels, the story takes a look at his personal life. We revisit a character from the past (Jez in Second Chances) and Frank finds some resolution in their relationship. We also experience Jayseera's struggles to reconcile her love of career with her love of family. Any mother who has ever faced the difficult task of leaving their new baby to go back to work will appreciate this subplot. Frank's struggle to balance family and career was something that created real conflict in Second Chances, but he seems to have found balance in this novel even though family and career dynamics are constantly changing.

This novel is as well-crafted and thoroughly researched as the previously novels in the series, but there's something very special about this book. Maybe it's because I feel like I know Frank and the other characters so well it's like reading about family. Or maybe it's because I read all three books back to back and witnessed how the author's writing style improved and evolved from book to book. I'll certainly be the first to buy the next book in the series. I'm hooked.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars