Gutsy Boston P.I. Fina Ludlow returns with a case that puts her faith to the test—in the latest addition to the critically acclaimed series by Ingrid Thoft.
When Ceci Renard hires Ludlow and Associates to sue the hip new church that she believes has brainwashed her daughter, Fina Ludlow is assigned to the case. Covenant Rising Church has all the trappings of a less-than-holy organization: a slick young pastor and his comely wife; fancy houses and luxury cars; and devoted congregants who seem eager to part with their money. Fina wonders if Ceci disapproves of Covenant Rising’s theology or the pastor’s ability to solicit generous donations—until a prominent church member dies unexpectedly. Fina’s investigation requires her to delve into the woman's life—both in and out of Covenant Rising—and ask a host of difficult questions. Is the pastor leading his flock astray? Did the church have a hand in the death or were there less savory elements in the woman's life outside the parish?
The case proves to be a complicated morass of misplaced loyalties and questionable motivations, rivaled only by the current state of the Ludlow family. The return of eldest brother Rand sets in motion an explosive showdown that threatens the very fabric that holds the family together, forcing Fina to confront the true meaning of faith.
Toxic family secrets again threaten Fina Ludlow's future in Thoft's desultory fourth outing for the usually dynamic Boston PI (last seen in 2015's Shamus Award winning Brutality). As the fiercely independent Fiona tries to figure out whether to make a deeper commitment to police detective Cristian Menendez, a single dad, she's distracted by the return of her black sheep big brother, Rand, who sexually abused his teenage daughter, Haley. Meanwhile, paterfamilias Carl Ludlow, who runs the powerhouse personal-injury firm that employs Fina as an investigator and her siblings as lawyers, seems far less concerned about Haley's precarious well-being than a case centered on the born-again evangelical Covenant Rising Church, with which the daughter of a very old flame of his has become deeply involved. Very little of what Fina starts to uncover about luxe-loving Pastor Greg Gatchell and his wife, Gabby, comes as much of a surprise, and the rising levels of menace and mayhem, including a church insider's murder, all prove less than compelling.