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In the Shadow of Evil

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Informed by the real-life fallout of the U.S. economy and devastation caused by multiple hurricanes along the southern coast, In the Shadow of Evil tells a modern day story involving the exposure of a building rebound scam. Amidst the layers of unethical practices, supply shortages, and excess murders, a top Louisiana homicide detective loses his heart to a charitable contractor while uncovering a secret about his tragic past. 

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Overview

Informed by the real-life fallout of the U.S. economy and devastation caused by multiple hurricanes along the southern coast, In the Shadow of Evil tells a modern day story involving the exposure of a building rebound scam. Amidst the layers of unethical practices, supply shortages, and excess murders, a top Louisiana homicide detective loses his heart to a charitable contractor while uncovering a secret about his tragic past. 

Endorsements and Reviews:

"Romantic suspense lovers will enjoy In the Shadow of Evil. Robin Caroll captures the southern flare of this Louisiana town and turns the construction industry into an interesting vehicle for her plot twists."

Terri Blackstock, New York Times best-selling author

"With a great plotline and a wholesome love story, this page-turner is a good choice for fans of Dee Henderson."

Library Journal

"Unputdownable tale based on real-life building scams."

Romantic Times (4-star review)

"No one does Southern mystery and suspense like Robin Caroll! In the Shadow of Evil ignites with conflict . . . not to be missed."

Ronie Kendig, author of Nightshade

"Suspense, drama, romance, all under the backdrop of a Christian setting . . . a solid offering."

TheChristianCritic.net

"Robin Caroll is a first-rate writer of romantic suspense, and In the Shadow of Evil showcases her talents."

CBA Retailers + Resources

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Romantic suspense writer Caroll (Fear No Evil) combines detective work ethics with construction site surroundings to build suspense and tension between two unlikely love interests. Homicide detective Maddox Bishop is an emotionally scarred man after entering a crime scene in his own home some 18 years earlier and finding his mother's dead body. Set on never opening his heart to a woman, Maddox can't seem to fight the growing bond developing between himself and a potential wrongdoer, Layla Taylor, a contractor and recent victim of heartbreak. Strong wills clash as the two discover they have to work together to unravel the escalating crimes of violence involving every one of Layla's personal and professional contacts. It takes loss of lives and relinquishment of everything, including significant past grievances toward parents, to move Maddox and Layla beyond bitterness before either can embrace a hopeful future. Caroll's work unfortunately does more telling than showing, and the result is a rather clumsily done wannabe love story that gives readers the facts but no feelings for the characters' plights. (Mar.)
Library Journal
Maddox Bishop (Deliver Us from Evil) works as a homicide detective just outside of Lake Charles, LA. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, he is assigned to investigate the murder of a man burned to death in a house fire. Layla Taylor is also probing the death because she was the contractor who built the home. Soon other houses she worked on also become targets of arson. Maddox and Layla join forces to solve the crimes, but first they both have to learn how to trust each other. VERDICT Readers who got to know Maddox in the previous book will want to learn what becomes of him and how he manages to deal with the guilt over his mother's death. With a great plotline and a wholesome love story, this page-turner is a good choice for fans of Dee Henderson.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805449792
  • Publisher: B&H Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/1/2011
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Robin Caroll has authored eleven previous books including the critically acclaimed Deliver Us From Evil. She gives back to the writing community by serving as conference director for American Christian Fiction Writers. A proud southerner, Robin lives with her husband, three daughters, and one precious grandson in Arkansas.

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Read an Excerpt

In the Shadow of Evil

a novel
By Robin Caroll

B&H PUBLISHING GROUP

Copyright © 2011 Robin Miller
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8054-4979-2


Chapter One

"It is possible to provide security against other ills, but as far as death is concerned, we men live in a city without walls." — Epicurus

The wicked drug held him hostage in its merciless grip. Crack turned his eyes red and wild, his face stark. He brandished the knife, stabbing the air in jerky motions. Jittery.

Dangerous.

Layla stood still as the stone wall beside her sister, Alana, her attention never shifting from the young man who ranted and paced the gazebo, a mere twenty feet in front of them. Where were Ralph and Cody? Shouldn't they have arrived to contain him by now?

"Gavin, just calm down." Alana's voice hitched.

"Y'all are the ones excited." His eyes darted back and forth between Alana and Layla like he was watching a tennis match. "I need space, dude."

The January wind came across the lake and cut through the grounds of Second Chances retreat. Layla shivered in her hoodie. All the recent rains that had brought a screeching halt to Layla's business left the ground saturated and put a dampness in the cutting wind.

Alana glanced over her shoulder, then took a slow step toward Gavin.

Layla grabbed Alana's arm, holding her in place. What was her sister thinking? With Alana's slight build, blonde hair cut in a short pixie, and big, blue eyes, she looked more like Tinker Bell than someone equipped to handle a drug-induced, deranged kid wielding a hunting knife.

Alana shook off Layla's grip, then inched toward the gazebo. "Gavin, look at me. Look at me." Her voice barely wavered.

His stare snagged on her face.

"I'm calm. Only Layla's with me. We're calm."

"Stop boxing me in." His gaze flitted back and forth again. "Just back off. Leave me alone." He waved the knife with a jumpy hand.

Layla moved beside her sister. No way would she allow Alana to get within striking distance of this hyped-up, armed kid. No telling what could happen with the drug in control. Lord, please watch over her. Us. Send Cody and Ralph quickly.

But Alana moved away from Layla. "Gavin, no one's trapping you. I'm trying to help. You know that."

"Right." He snorted and teetered backward. "Just go away."

From the corner of her eye, Layla caught a shadow of a figure. Cody crept to the gazebo. Ralph crouched behind him, a syringe in his hand.

Alana froze. "Okay. Okay." She took a step back and moved alongside Layla.

He stopped pacing and glared at them. The leeriness came through loud and clear in his body language. He pointed the knife in Alana's direction.

Layla wrapped her hand around Alana's. She tugged her sister back a foot, then another, and another — never turning away from the strung-out kid.

Still glaring and holding the knife, he inched to the stairs.

The interns lunged from the shadows as he stepped. Grabbing Gavin in a choke hold, Cody restrained him while Ralph slipped the needle into Gavin's arm and lowered the plunger on the syringe. The kid bucked and thrashed, then went limp in Cody's arms. The knife clattered to the wood floor of the gazebo.

Layla remembered to breathe. Thank You, Lord.

Alana dropped her hand and approached the gazebo. "Thanks, guys." She squatted beside Gavin. Her hand didn't tremble as she stroked the hair off his forehead. "He was doing so well. Five weeks ... all gone now." She shook her head. "What a waste."

Cody and Ralph hoisted him between them. "We'll take care of him, Ms. Alana." They shuffled along the stone path across the retreat grounds, heading to the main cabin.

Alana stood and popped her hands on her slight hips. Her brow furrowed as she sighed. "I'll have to call his probation officer. He won't take this lightly."

Once again Alana would carry all the world's burdens on her own shoulders. Layla met Alana's intense expression and concentrated on keeping her tone neutral. "Hey, it's not your fault he chose to get high." She nudged her sister. "You can't be responsible for someone else's bad decisions."

Alana lifted her chin. "No, but I'm going to find out where he got the crack. He hasn't left the grounds except to work. I'm going to the big house to check his schedule." She marched away, her steps punctuating her irritation, just as she'd done since her teens.

Layla smiled at her sister's retreating back and followed at a slower pace. The big house. She'd never get used to calling the home her family had once shared the big house, even though she had signed the house and property over to her sister three years ago. It was no longer a family residence but the main office of Second Chances. Oh, Alana still lived in the second-floor loft, but the downstairs was now the retreat's community kitchen, dining, and living room.

Retreat. How about a drug rehabilitation center? That's what Second Chances really was. Set along the bayou in Eternal Springs, Louisiana, it had cabins instead of cells and therapy sessions called group sharing. But it was rehab all the same.

Layla trudged behind her sister, stuffing her hands into the front pocket of the hoodie. The wind whistled through the cypress trees and swayed the Spanish moss. A hint of fishy odor drifted over the vast acreage.

A shiver stuttered down Layla's spine.

She paused, staring across the bayou. While she couldn't detect any movement out of the ordinary, she couldn't stop the feeling that someone watched her.

She shook her head and continued behind Alana. Gavin's behavior must've spooked her more than she'd thought. But she couldn't have ignored Alana's panicked call if she'd wanted. Somebody had to look out for Alana, and since their father's passing and their mother's move into the hospital, the responsibility fell to Layla. Sure, Cameron was in the picture now as Alana's fiancé, but still ...

When Layla found her sister, Alana was in the office, perusing a spreadsheet sprawled over the desk.

"He didn't even have a weekend privilege." Alana stabbed her fingers through her hair. "So he had to have gotten the crack here." No mistaking her distress at the possibility of drugs being on the retreat's property. It defied everything the retreat stood for.

What Alana stood for.

Layla perched on the edge of the desk. "Has he worked any? Maybe he had someone bring him the drug on-site." She hated the thought of someone having drugs on any construction site as much as Alana hated the possibility that drugs were at Second Chances.

Crossing her arms over her chest, Alana stared out the window. "How could he have contacted anyone? He hasn't been given phone privileges. He only received his last work assignment on Monday."

Four days ago.

If he didn't have privileges last weekend, only got his work assignment on Monday afternoon and it was now Friday, then by process of elimination, he had to have gotten the crack on a construction site. It'd been raining for the last three weeks, so all sites were concentrating on indoor projects.

Layla shifted to scan the work assignments. "He was with Bob every day this week?"

"Yep. Gavin wanted to learn plumbing as his trade."

Splinters! Bob? No way. Bob Johnson was one of the best plumbers in the parish. He was Layla's favorite, by far. She used him more than the other three local plumbers combined. To think there was a chance that drugs would be on one of his jobs ...

"Where's Bob been working this week?"

Alana's brows bunched as she read. "The Thompson repairs."

Old Ike Thompson had allowed his nineteen-year-old son to live in his rental house. Big mistake. When the kid left two weeks ago, the house had been trashed. Holes in the Sheetrock. Burned places in the floor. Plumbing destroyed. And that was just the bottom floor. A sad situation for Ike but an opportunity for Alana.

"You know, Gavin could've found some drugs at the site. Ike's kid was into partying hard, so he might've left some drugs behind. Gavin might have stumbled upon them."

"Maybe. But in my experience, users don't normally leave a stash behind when they split."

"But it's not beyond the realm of possibility. I mean, Ike's kid snuck out of town in the middle of the night. For whatever reason, he left in a hurry. Maybe he was too rushed to get everything."

Alana chewed her bottom lip. "Could be."

"Look," Layla slipped off the desk, "I'll run by Bob's on my way home. Talk with him and see what he says about Gavin."

"I'd appreciate that. It would be best to have as much information as I can before I call his probation officer. I'll call Fred in." Fred was Alana's assistant director. Sweet man who adored Alana.

Layla dug into her jeans pocket for her truck keys. "I'll run there now and talk to Bob."

"Call me as soon as you can." Alana touched Layla's arm. "Thanks. I just can't believe this happened."

"It'll be okay." Layla could only pray that was true.

* * *

This meeting was going to end badly. Not so much for him, but for Dennis.

Dennis just didn't know it. Yet.

Night stole over Eternal Springs, Louisiana. The January wind gusted, whistling around the house. A heavy mist cloaked the parish, a remnant of the gully washers they'd received over the last several weeks.

He leaned against the interior wall of the house and lit a cigarette. Just completed two months ago, the Hope-for-Homes house would welcome its new owners in a matter of weeks. He had to move fast to destroy the evidence and keep his name clear. Although no one suspected him of anything less than stellar quality, he couldn't take the chance. Not with what he had riding on his reputation.

But Dennis had to be taken care of first.

"You shouldn't smoke in here. The smell lingers." Dennis cracked open the front door. The security light at the end of the cul-de-sac spilled into the room. "Someone will know somebody was here that wasn't supposed to be."

He cut Dennis off by tossing the cigarette in the front yard. "There. Happy now?"

Dennis shot him a hard stare in the dim lantern light. "Hardly."

He sighed and quietly moved to the bar, standing in front of the shelf holding the gun he'd placed there before Dennis arrived. The gun he'd stolen from Dennis's car two days ago. The shadows would work in his favor. "What's your problem now, LeJeune?"

"You know what my problem is. You're trying to cut me out."

"How do you figure?" Just how much did Dennis know?

"I know you've put in bids with the casinos."

Dennis knew more than he had thought. Who had Dennis told? "I have."

"And you have an inside source somewhere because word on the street is that you'll get the job."

"So?"

"So?" Dennis crossed to the other side of the bar, resting his bony palms against the finished granite. "You're not including me."

"How did you hear all this?"

Dennis scraped a thin hand over his face. "That's not important. What matters is you're trying to go solo."

"The boats don't use local inspectors. They bring in their own. Federals." He casually lifted a shoulder. "I don't need you on this one."

Dennis's eyes narrowed as he stroked his shaggy mustache. "After all I've done for you —"

"That you've been paid well for. Let's not pretend you've done anything out of the goodness of your heart. It's always been about the money."

"Same with you."

He spread his hands through the air. "I've made no other claims."

"But the boats are big deals. Really big. We're talking a lot of money to be made. You didn't think I'd let you cut me out, did you?"

Laughing, he lowered his hand to rest on the butt of the gun. "You have nothing to do with this deal."

"What about the others?"

"What others?"

Dennis snorted. "Don't think I haven't noticed what you've been doing these last eight or nine months."

Maybe the old inspector was onto more than just the casino deals. "What's that, LeJeune?"

"All these buildings we fudged on ... some freaky accidents have happened to them." Dennis's thinning gray hair flew as he shook his head.

He swallowed. "I don't control Mother Nature. A lot of our homes were lost in the hurricanes. A lot of the offices."

"What about the fires? Three, over the last six months. Tell me you didn't burn those down to hide the evidence."

He sucked in air, struggling to keep his composure. Everything he'd fought so hard to achieve could be lost because of this ... this moron. "Who else have you told about our agreement?"

"No one." Dennis paused, his jaw popping as he ground his teeth. "Yet. We have a nice setup going here."

They did. But he had to go legitimate to get the casino boats deal. They'd check him out thoroughly. He couldn't take a chance on any link between him and certain buildings. He had no other choice but to destroy them.

Like this house.

He sighed. "Bottom line, what do you want?"

"I want my cut, just like always."

"But you aren't going to inspect the boats. No one will find a single problem. Why should I give you a percentage for doing nothing?"

"Because that will keep my mouth closed." Dennis crossed his arms over his chest and cocked out his hip. "About the past. I kept records too you know."

And there it was — the threat. The bluff.

He couldn't allow that. He couldn't allow Dennis to be a loose end.

Dennis had just sealed his own fate.

"Just cut me in on this deal, and we'll go on with business as usual." Dennis shifted and shoved his hand into the pocket of his coat.

He gripped the loaded gun and whipped it from the shelf in one fluid motion. He pointed the barrel at Dennis's chest. Didn't even take a breath before pulling the trigger.

Crack!

A muzzle flash barely registered before Dennis took two steps backward. He staggered. Swayed. His eyes widened for a split second before Dennis slumped. His limp body didn't move once it hit the floor.

He let out the breath he'd been holding. He leveled the gun, shot Dennis in the head just for good measure, then wiped down the gun. Using the corner of a rag, he dropped the gun beside Dennis.

He moved to the garage and retrieved the gallons of gasoline he'd stowed there earlier. Now to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. Disposing of the body to remove all evidence and burning down the house with the substandard materials.

Fate couldn't have given him a better gift.

Chapter Two

"If there is no struggle, there is no progress." — Frederick Douglass

Honk! Honk!

Maddox grabbed his badge and gun off the table and headed out into the darkness of night. A dusting of rain covered him as he ducked to the road. He swallowed a yawn and slipped in the passenger seat of the unmarked cruiser.

"Already missing your beauty sleep?" His partner, Houston Wallace, popped gum while steering the car down the street. Even in the wee hours, his partner looked the same as when they'd clocked out at five. Even right down to the untucked, wild Hawaiian-print shirt and stained coat. His thinning, salt-and-pepper hair was kept short, which did nothing to mask the receding hairline. At five foot eleven, Houston was a couple of inches short of Maddox's height. A fact Maddox never let him forget.

"It's three in the morning. Of course I'm missing my sleep." He cocked his gaze to his partner. "Man, being on call bites."

"If you make commander, you won't have to take these early calls." Houston popped his gum again and turned the car onto I-210. "A homicide. Practically right in our backyard."

Maddox's gut tightened. He wanted to make commander, could taste it. A real rank, as his father would say. Houston had turned down the promotion a year ago. The new commander was making noise about running for sheriff in one of the little bayou towns in the parish. If the slot opened ... "Yeah, we'll see."

"It could happen." Houston popped his gum again. "Dispatcher said they'd found a gunshot vic."

"Yeah, that's what he told me too."

Maddox looked down into the mouth of the west fork of the Calcasieu River as they topped the bridge. So high up . . . He forced himself to release the fists he'd balled his hands into and pinched his eyes shut.

Eternity passed. Slowly.

"We're off the bridge."

He opened his eyes. Even though Houston had never teased him about his fear, the heat crept up the back of Maddox's neck. He glanced out the window. They now sped along LA378 into Westlake. "Outside city limits, huh?"

(Continues...)



Excerpted from In the Shadow of Evil by Robin Caroll Copyright © 2011 by Robin Miller. Excerpted by permission of B&H PUBLISHING GROUP. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 18 )
Rating Distribution

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(13)

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Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 16, 2012

    I enjoyed "In the Shadow of Evil" immensely. Just enou

    I enjoyed "In the Shadow of Evil" immensely. Just enough love story to keep this romance addict enjoying all the suspense.

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  • Posted March 12, 2012

    This book is Maddox' story. We met Maddox in Fear No Evil and I

    This book is Maddox' story. We met Maddox in Fear No Evil and I was looking forward to get to know him better.

    When Maddox was a teenager he found his mother stabbed in her bedroom, after he was late for curfew. She died in his arms. His father blamed Maddox for her death, while he was away for his job and not much at home himself. Maddox never had a good relationship with his father.

    Layla is a constructor with her own business. She just won a prize with a Hope for Homes project, but soon that house burns down and a body was found inside. The man in the house was shot before the house burned down. That is where Maddox and his partner come in. They are investigators and good at their jobs.
    Many awful things are happening around Layla and with the people she loves. Who is after her? And why?

    Maddox had sworn he didn't need a woman. They only meant trouble. Last time he was dating his mother got murdered. But when he meets Layla something is happening inside of him. She's different and he likes that. But Layla isn't looking for a man. After the break up with her last boyfriend she has built a wall around her heart. And then there's another issue - Layla is a believer, but Maddox doesn't believe in God. Can Maddox take Layla's walls down? And will Maddox find healing and love with the One he needs the most?

    This book is full twists and turns. Little by little we get more glimpses of the bad guy, but it's not easy to figure out who he is. That's what I like in a suspense story, that makes me flip the pages faster and faster. In the Shadow of Evil is a fantastic read with a satisfying end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2011

    mixed

    The story was pretty good though not all that suspensful. I did not realized faith in God was going to be part of the story. I have nothing against God, but not what I had in mind when purchasing this book. I would probably not buy from this author again knowing part of the story is a lecture in faith.

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  • Posted March 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Suspenseful Who Done It

    I read Deliver Us From Evil and loved the action, adventure, humor and spiritual thread in it. I anxiously awaited the review copy of In the Shadow of Evil.

    Layla is a female contractor following in her father's foot steps after his untimely death. Layla has been nominated for a building award she's worked hard to achieve. Tragedy strikes the House of Hope home she entered into the contest. The shadow of evil clouds her chances of winning the award when the house burns to the ground. Crazy thing about the fire is the body they discover among the ashes. The CSI team scrambles to disclose the body's identity and glean for clues that will uncover the murderer!

    Detective Maddox and his partner arrive at the burned house and see a body. Because of Maddox's experience and the clues he discovers in the rubble, he suspects arson, and is convinced Layla set the fire. He's certain he'll find the proof he needs to expose a building rebound scam he knows is operating in this city. Layla's case adds one more piece to the puzzle to help uncover unethical practices to creatively fulfill the supply shortage and reveal the mastermind behind the scheme.

    Layla doesn't like how slow the detectives are going to "prove her innocence". She definitely feels they've stamped her guilty already. So, she sets out to play detective herself. Things start to heat up as she pokes around. Another house is set on fire and she's the suspect again. Could she let go and let God work on her behalf?

    This is an intriguing story set in the Louisiana, Bayou based on the real-life fallout of the U.S. economy plus devastation caused by multiple hurricanes along the southern coast. I enjoyed the tough, yet tender Layla and the emotionally wounded, chauvinistic Detective Maddox. I liked how this author showed God working in their lives for His glory and their good, when they let Him! I liked the believable characters and the spiritual struggle they went though on their way to giving and accepting forgiveness; of course I liked the drama, mystery and suspense as well. I'm looking forward to the next action adventure story from Robin Caroll.

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  • Posted March 9, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great book!

    It all starts with a a dead body in a burning house. Well, thus starts the catastrophe anyways. Not terribly uncommon, but the house is for the unfortunate and the source of an award; and the body is that of the inspector. Contractor Layla Taylor is thrust along with Detective Maddox Bishop into a chaotic reality where trust is deceitful, hope is weakness, and peace is mockery. Layla can hardly doubt that she is living in the shadow of evil.

    When I first started this book, I kept wondering, how is this the shadow of evil? But soon it became evident; this book gets intense! Smoothly written with a fluent story line, it was a great read that was hard to put down. Construction and Louisiana were two foreign subjects to me, so that was an interesting background in my eyes. I was a little disappointing though that there wasn't much culture. I also must note that there are two over used phrases that I assume were meant to add character but came across otherwise. As the book progresses, they do become more scarce. All in all, excellent book and I can't wait to read it's two siblings. Great job, Robin.

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  • Posted March 8, 2011

    3rd in Evil series is thriller filled with romance and faith

    In the Shadow of Evil by Robin Caroll is the third book in the Evil romantic suspense series. Maddox Bishop is investigating an arson/murder at a brand new house that brings him to question Layla Taylor, the contractor for the building. Sparks quickly fly between the two, but Maddox keeps finding connections between Layla and the crimes that are popping up all over town: three mysterious deaths that seem to be tied to her church, her office is robbed, and the rehabilitation center her sister, Alana, runs is bombed. But the crimes are all tied to Layla because the culprit is desperate to keep her from discovering his identity. Meanwhile Maddox is dealing with his prickly relationship with his father that stems from his mother's murder years earlier, and Layla hasn't seen her mother in eight years since her drug overdose left her with a permanent brain injury. The couple must deal with their pasts before they can build a future together, and that is threatened by a killer who will stop at nothing to hide his sins. Each book in this series is essentially a stand-alone with minimal reference to the characters from the previous book. Maddox was a cop in Fear No Evil, but you don't need to have read that to enjoy this novel. Caroll is very good at creating nail-biting suspense, and the scene where Layla faces the murderer is a heart-stopper. One flaw in the book is that by naming Maddox' partner Houston, a dramatic scene becomes unintentionally funny by the inclusion of the phrase, "Houston, we have a problem," This is a solid series sure to please fans of Christian fiction with plenty of romance and suspense.

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  • Posted March 3, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Love this book, this series and this author!

    Robin Caroll has this amazing gift for suspense/thriller writing that is almost creepy. Why? Because she takes topics and scenarios that could happen right at home and then brings them to life and it has you looking over your shoulder and wondering if that very thing could be happening in your own neighborhood! Child trafficking rings, gang warfare and now scams and unethical practices in a Habitat for Humanity type business. It makes me wonder where she comes up with these stories, but scared to ask... all I know is that I absolutely love her books and her writing and this Evil series ("Deliver Us From Evil", "Fear No Evil" and "In The Shadow of Evil") is fantastic!

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  • Posted March 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Compelling

    Here's a good read: a mystery book with just the right touch of whodunit and romance. All loose ends are neatly tied up before the final chapter. Why, even a cold case is solved in a surprising twist!

    Layla Taylor is a good role model for single Christian women. She's independent, hard worker, Christian, but when tempted to fall for a nonbeliever, she holds back. The tug on her heart strings while her world falls apart, makes for one compelling story.

    Discussion questions are included.

    Thank you to FirstWildCard and Julie Gwinn at BH Publishing Group for my copy.

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  • Posted March 1, 2011

    Amongst the Ashes

    Alana Taylor runs the Second Chances rehabilitation center in Eternal Springs, Louisiana. When the clients have reached a certain plateau of reliability, some are hired by the local construction companies to work on site.

    Layla Taylor, Alana's sister, runs Taylor Construction, the only female-owned construction company, which she opened when their father died. She had recently won the CotY award for constructing the latest Homes of Hope project. However, arson quickly takes it down, with a murdered man found inside the ruins.

    Detectives Maddox Bishop and Houston Wallace of the Calcasieu Sheriff's office were on call when the fire broke out in the Homes of Hope building, and were called in when an anonymous body was found in the ashes.

    Since Layla knew the construction owners, electricians, plumbers, and suppliers, she takes on the responsibility of "helping" the detectives find the perpetrator, looking for anything/anyone out of the ordinary on their sites. This does not sit well with the person responsible, since she could connect this person to the incidences that occur.

    In the opening pages of In the Shadow of Evil, Robin starts out with a heart-wrenching murder scene. From that opening, the action explodes fast and furious into additional scenes that demand your full attention to details. When you think you have it all down, she springs another scene that instantly pulls you in another direction. This continues from page one to very last page, fast and furious.

    Interspersed within the scenes, possible suspects, and twisting plots, there blows the mild winds of romance. Neither party is open to another romantic relationship due to past hurts and betrayals, but Robin slowly winds them into the web of love. The only part I wasn't so sure of was how much an officer can get involved with a suspect/client romantically while a case is still in progress. That could easily be my own views based on my legal background.

    Although the bulk of the story revolves around the murders and love relationships, Robin deliberately opens the doors to deal with forgiveness and reconciliation in the lives of these two young loves. Bitterness keeps both from forming that relationship built on true love. Robin beautifully and thoughtfully brought both characters to the point of brokenness, bringing tears to my eyes on both accounts. Most importantly, their personal relationship with the Lord is dealt with as well.

    I was amazed at how realistic the characters were; how well Robin developed each of the characters' personalities. I could easily relate to each of the main characters, and would love to have friends like them in my life. Definitely a great read!

    This book was provided by Jeane Wynn, President of Wynn-Wynn Media in exchange for my honest review.

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  • Posted January 30, 2011

    A can't put it down story

    I'm convinced! I don't usually read suspense, but when I received a sample copy for review, thought I'd give it a go. Robin Caroll's talented writing was enough to convince me to retract former pre-conceived notions about suspense novels.

    Realistic faith-based characters with inner struggles of their own are pitted against age-old spiraling results of temptation, entitlement and greed. This was definitely a what's next, can't put it down story. Between the hero and heroines attraction/angst, their varied personal battles, and the dangers to an entire community, it was a dramatic page turner. I'd definitely recommend anything written by Robin Caroll.

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  • Posted January 5, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    terrific inspirational suspense thriller

    In Eternal Springs, Louisiana, contractor Layla Taylor is stunned when a house she just completed is set on fire. Once the blaze is put out and the remains cooled down, a dead inspector is found inside. Detectives Maddox Bishop and Houston Wallace investigate the homicide-arson with Layla as the only link to both crimes besides the victim.

    Maddox and Layla are attracted to one another from their first meeting. However, when more incidents including murder and arson occur, he knows the case comes first. He works diligently to keep Layla safe as she is the seeming focus that ties everything together, he does not want to have happen to her what happened to his mother almost two decades ago, which he still feels overwhelming guilt for not being home on time to protect her.

    The latest Eternal Spring inspirational suspense thriller (see Deliver us From Evil and Fear No Evil) is a terrific police procedural with strong relationship bases. The sisters obviously love one another though disagree more than they agree on issues. The police partners provide strong support for each other on and off the job. Maddox with his remorse and guilt over his mom shapes his personality as he and Layla fall in love, but God is in their way as she believes strongly (as does her sibling) while he no longer accepts a deity who allowed a bad thing to happen to his mom. This occurs inside a strong investigation with an unexpected but plausible late twist as a serial killer-arsonist seems to target Layla.

    Harriet Klausner

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  • Posted December 24, 2010

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    This is a Must Read

    A story of murder, mystery, faith and love. What a great combination. Maddox became a detective in hopes of one day solving his mother's murder. He has turned his back on God because of his mother's murder. Layla, a successful contractor has a great relationship with God. She will need to rely on her faith when a home she has built burns to the ground and a dead body is found inside. These two must work together as more of her projects are destroyed and she is threatened. This is a wonderful suspense filled story where we watch God work in lives and a romance blossom. This is a book full of God's messages in a non-preachy way. The suspense kept me turning pages. My mother borrowed it and finished it in two days, and she is a slow reader. This is a book I most definitely will recommend to all of my friends.

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  • Posted November 19, 2010

    Great Southern Suspense

    In the Shadow of Evil by Robin Caroll is fantastic southern suspense. It has all the elements I've come to expect from the author's books. Richly drawn characters. Twisting plots. And she kept me guessing. And all set in the Bayou region of Louisiana.

    Maddox, who appeared in an earlier book, is back; this time he's tasked with solving a murder that was hidden by arson. Layla is also digging because it's a house her contracting firm built. The two clash as they each conduct investigations --- investigations that reveal more and more people who could have a motive. And more crimes that could be linked.

    If that were all that happened, this book would be fairly straightforward. Instead, there are spiritual and family struggles for each of them. People are dying in seemingly unrelated events. And Layla is fighting for the reputation of the company she built. I can't say more without revealing the plot...let's just say it's a page-turner.

    So if you haven't read any Robin Caroll books yet, this is a great one to start with. And the cover is stunning.

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  • Posted November 3, 2010

    A book you won't want to miss!

    This book is a story of deceit and murder, but also one of faith and love. In the Shadow of Evil is an in-depth, well written tale that keeps you on the edge of your seat and you won't be able to put it down. One man's goal for wealth, which he thinks will win him custody of his kids, leads him to a life of betrayal, deceit and murder. Lives of those around him will start to crumble. As some things fall apart, secrets are slowly revealed.

    All around the evil, is tremendous faith, love and forgiveness, at work throughout the story. In the Shadow of Evil is a book I will enjoy reading again and will recommend to everyone I know. The suspense keeps you on edge, but the faith and love makes this a book you'll be happy you didn't miss! I completely enjoyed this book and I look forward to reading more from Ms. Caroll.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2010

    It has it all!

    Robin Caroll once again takes you on a journey loaded with mystery, suspense, romance, spiritual truths and lots of twists and turns. In the Shadow of Evil finds you in Eternal Springs, Louisiana. Layla Taylor is a general contractor there who loves her work and is well respected. So why is it that the house she just finished is set a blaze complete with a dead inspector inside? That's what Detective Maddox Bishop (whom we met in Fear No Evil) is trying to find out. He and his partner Houston begin to investigate the crime. Layla seems to be a common thread. Sparks fly when Maddox and Layla meet although there is something that draws them to each other. As incidents continue to escalate will they find who and what they're looking for before it's too late? Robin just keeps getting better and better! There was so much happening 'In the Shadow of Evil' I was turning pages fast enough to create a breeze! I love how the author allows you into the heads of the main characters so you understand why they are the way they are. Maddox together with his partner Houston were so entertaining. I thoroughly enjoyed their easy banter together. I also enjoyed Layla and her sister Alana. They were so supportive of each other, even if they disagreed. They had such kind and loving hearts. Then there was Maddox and Layla. I loved watching these two together as they dealt with all of the complex emotions they had going on. All the characters were very well drawn and added such value to the story. One thing I truly appreciated was the theme of forgiveness. Beginning with God forgiving us and the need to forgive others. That's not always an easy thing to do as you'll see in the story. (I think we can all relate with the struggle to forgive) But sometimes when we take those most difficult steps we gain the greatest blessing. Oh... and watch out for the hair-pin turn at the end. It's a doozy!! Great job Robin! I highly recommend In the Shadow of Evil. A thank you goes to the author and publisher for providing this complimentary copy for my review. It's published by B&H Publishing. It's release date is March 2011.

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  • Posted October 19, 2010

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    Great Mystery

    The book starts with the prologue eighteen years ago. Maddox was seventeen and late for curfew, when he comes in he finds his mom stabled and she died in his arms.



    Present Day: Maddox has become a detective and with his partner Detective Houston they are always working on solving a case. One he really wants to solve is who killed his mother and why. The book also includes two sisters Layla and Alana. Layla was a building contractor just like their dad and Alana ran a retreat for cleaning up drug addicts. They both were Christian and Maddox had no use for God. There are so much going on with people dying that went to the same church, murder, places being burned and all of it linked back to Layla.


    This is a great read and as Robin Caroll always does with her books, she keeps you on your toes. This book will be out in March 2011 so be sure to pick up a copy, you can pre-order it here and here.


    Thanks to B&H Publishing for sending me this advanced reader's copy of this book to review.

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  • Posted October 12, 2010

    Great book -- If you like suspense, get this one!

    Robin Caroll is an awesome Christian realistic fiction writer. 'In the Shadow of Evil' is yet another great example of her work. From the beginning, the story draws you in and doesn't let you go until the final page. The suspense is just enough to keep you guessing, and the story line is real and not forced. All of the elements of the story are very "doable" in the sense that you could definitely see the story played out in our world today. I will definitely continue reading Robin's work, and I look forward to her next book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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