I have been a fan of Mindy Starns Clark since I discovered her first Christian mystery series. She consistently offers edge of your seat tales of intrigue dashed with some strong romance. Stand alone entry Under the Cajun Moon is no exception.
Chloe wakes up in a stupor in a strange hotel room. The police are pounding on the door. She lets them in only to have them discover the dead body on the couch. The victim is a man Chloe barely remembers meeting. As the police begin questioning her, she attempts to remember the previous 24 hours.
Chloe had rushed to New Orleans to be by the side of her father, famous chef Julian Ledet, had been shot. But instead of heading straight to the hospital, she was asked to take care of some business at the family restaurant. During the meeting, Chloe learned some long buried family secrets from the murder victim. Are they what got him killed and her father shot? Can she stay alive long enough to clear her name?
Since much of the set up is told in various flash backs, we feel involved from the first page. Once Chloe's memory catches up with the present, things pick up even more speed, and I had a hard time putting the book down. The ending did feel a bit rushed, but it was a logical ending.
Weaving through the book is the story of Jacques, a young man in France in 1719. It is fairly obvious early on what his story is doing in the book, although there were a few things I didn't guess ahead of time. Even so, I found myself so caught up in the second storyline that I was often frustrated when we bounced back to the present.
Obviously, this works because the characters are so well constructed. I connected with both Chloe and Jacques right away. Travis is a little obvious as the love interest, but I really did like him as well. Some of the bits of character development were predictable, but there were also some nice surprises.
Yes, this is a Christian mystery. Outside of one scene, however, there is nothing remotely preachy. And that scene? It was still entertaining and feels like a real part of the story and not something forced in to make it Christian.
Mindy's writing has really matured over the course of her books. The writing is sharp, vividly describing the characters and action without slowing things down. The epilogue devolves a little into telling as it tries to tie up several loose ends, but that's my only complaint with the whole book.
Under the Cajun Moon continues Mindy Starns Clark's streak of winning books. I recommend this book, and her others, wholeheartedly.