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The Lord Is My Shepherd (Psalm 23 Mysteries Series #1)

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Overview

Cindy’s church is getting ready to celebrate Easter, and Jeremiah’s Temple is preparing for Passover when Cindy literally stumbles over the body of an unknown man lying dead in the sanctuary. The church was locked, and a bloody cross necklace on the floor seems to be the only clue. The killer is likely a member of the congregation, but there are hints that similar deaths have happened in the past. Are Cindy and Jeremiah dealing with a serial killer? They have to unravel the ...

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The Lord Is My Shepherd: The Psalm 23 Mysteries

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Overview

Cindy’s church is getting ready to celebrate Easter, and Jeremiah’s Temple is preparing for Passover when Cindy literally stumbles over the body of an unknown man lying dead in the sanctuary. The church was locked, and a bloody cross necklace on the floor seems to be the only clue. The killer is likely a member of the congregation, but there are hints that similar deaths have happened in the past. Are Cindy and Jeremiah dealing with a serial killer? They have to unravel the clues before Easter Sunday arrives and more people die.

Cindy and Jeremiah come from two different worlds, even though they work right next door to each other. Cindy is a strong Christian who lives a normal but somewhat dull life, working as a church secretary. Jeremiah is a Reformed rabbi with a mysterious past full of danger and excitement. But one eventful Easter/Passover week, the two find themselves working together to solve a murder and stop a serial killer from striking again. Solving the mystery should put an end to their alliance, but the church secretary and the rabbi quickly find themselves enmeshed in another mystery. Soon the two form a friendly alliance and friendship, exploring personal history and faith and growing closer with each passing adventure. Despite their differences Cindy and Jeremiah find a lot of common ground.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Prolific fantasy and YA author Viguié (coauthor of the Wicked series) adds a new genre with this mystery, a sort of cozy but not entirely. Church secretary Cindy Preston stumbles over a dead body at First Shepherd Presbyterian; racing almost immediately to her aid is Jeremiah Silverman, rabbi of the neighboring synagogue, who can bust some pretty good moves from having spent his youth in Israel. It’s clear soon enough that the events of Christian Holy Week, which coincide with the celebration of Passover for Silverman and his congregants, have special significance for the killer, and Cindy, Jeremiah, and Det. Mark Walters work to solve the mystery while the killer continues. Many elements are blended: murder mystery, comical church staff, a soupçon of romantic tension, interfaith exploration, backstories that get a tad of exposure (series writer Viguié knows how to lay groundwork for follow-ups). The result is uneven, although promising enough to draw fans; some Christian fiction readers might question the serial-killer plot element. (Mar.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426701894
  • Publisher: Abingdon Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2010
  • Series: Psalm 23 Mysteries Series , #1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 890,552
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Debbie Viguié is the New York Times bestselling author of more than two dozen novels. Debbie writes dark fantasy, mysteries, and thrillers including The Psalm 23 Mysteries and the Kiss trilogy. When Debbie isn’t busy writing she enjoys spending time with her husband, Scott, visiting theme parks. They live near Orlando, Florida with their cat, Schrödinger.
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First Chapter

The Lord Is My Shepherd The Psalm 23 Mysteries #1


By Debbie Viguie

Abingdon Press

Copyright © 2010 The United Methodist Publishing House
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4267-0189-4


Chapter One

More than anything, Cindy Preston hated Mondays. As a kid Mondays meant that it was time to stop playing and go back to school. They were the day that her dad always left home on business trips, which he did a lot. On Mondays she had to take drama classes because her brother did, and anything he did she had to do too. She never got to act. Kyle always overshadowed her. Instead, she helped construct the stages he strutted around on.

As an adult, Mondays were even worse. Returning to any job wasn't pleasant after a weekend of freedom. But you could double that since she worked at a church, which meant Mondays were hell.

Of course, "hell" wasn't a word Cindy would use at church, unless she was talking literally about the place and its demonic denizens. She'd had a lifetime of paranoia pounded into her by her mother. "You don't curse at church. You don't fall asleep during the sermon. You don't look at boys. You don't wear slacks."

Cindy knew exactly what couldn't be done at church, but she always felt a little unsure about what you could do. The first time a friend invited her to a Pentecostal service Cindy had spent the entire time telling people to put their hands down, because she was just sure you couldn't do that in church.

Cindy smiled grimly as she pulled into the parking lot of First Shepherd. She might not know what she could do at church, but she did know that in a pinch she could work there. Even if that meant she had to wear skirts and dresses every day. Slacks still didn't feel right in a sanctuary. She turned off the engine and leaned her head back for a minute, closing her eyes.

"God help me."

Cindy had never had a job that was so rewarding or half as exasperating. At any ordinary job you could leave on Friday, lock the door behind you, and come back on Monday morning and expect to find things where you left them. Not so much when you worked at a church.

Last Monday had been one of the worst days yet. They were preparing for Easter week, one of the busiest times of the year with extra services, programs, and special events. As if that hadn't been enough, the church's furnace had quit working, someone had broken a key off in the nursery room door lock, one of the women's bathrooms had flooded, and her binder of master calendars and room assignments had somehow found its way from her desk to the pulpit.

Cindy contemplated sitting in her car until everyone else showed up for work. An extra half hour of quiet sounded good, but she knew she couldn't sit there. The one advantage of arriving first was the chance to assess the damage before anyone else, especially Pastor Roy, showed up and freaked out.

Maybe if everything is quiet I can play a quick game of solitaire.

She got out of her car and walked toward the main gate that shut off the parking lot from the church buildings. With her left hand she slid a deck of cards out of her purse and shuffled them with one hand. She'd learned the trick in junior high, and it always calmed her down.

Please, God, let the soda machine not be empty.

Given that the high school youth group had a big outreach the night before, only God Himself could have left a can in the machine for her.

When she inserted her key in the gate's lock and twisted, it didn't click. Cindy stood for a moment, puzzled, before she pushed open the unlocked door.

"Somebody's in trouble," she muttered. Staff rarely forgot to lock the gate at night.

"Hello, anyone here?" she called as she stepped into the courtyard. No reply. She hesitated for a moment. The silence was always disturbing early in the morning, especially after the noise and clamor of Sunday services. She glanced around uneasily but didn't see anyone.

Cindy headed straight across the open breezeway toward the sanctuary, sticking to her normal routine. She shuffled the cards with her left hand faster and faster and prayed that the women's room wasn't flooded again. Without breaking stride, she scooped up a small piece of paper from the ground near the door and stuffed it in her coat pocket, intending to throw it away in the office.

She unlocked the sanctuary door, stepped inside, and moved along the wall toward the bank of light switches, which some "art-over-practicality" architect had discretely positioned beneath a portrait of Jesus twenty feet from the door. In the darkness her foot caught on something soft and out of place, and she crashed to the floor, smacking her elbows and one knee. Her cards flew from her hand, and she could hear them flutter down around her.

Now what? What had the youth group kids done to the sanctuary this time? Cindy scrambled to her feet only to feel her twisted knee give out from under her, and she fell against the wall. Her shaking hand reached out and caught the light switch. With a loud clunk, the overhead lights slowly came on, and she turned around to see what she had tripped over.

A man, wearing a long black coat, lay sprawled on the ground. Half a dozen of her cards had landed on him, but he didn't move. Cindy jumped backward, hand pressed to her chest.

"Oh! Sir, are you all right?"

As she approached him carefully, he still didn't move. Cindy bent down and shook his leg, like she had learned once in a first-aid class. Did he have a heart attack?

When he didn't move she took hold of his shoulder and rolled him onto his back. She gasped when her eyes met his vacant stare. One look at those eyes and she knew he was dead. She had seen that look before, eyes just like that, open and frozen. Then she saw the knife sticking out of his chest.

Cindy screamed and jumped backward, slamming into a pew. Her injured knee buckled, and she collapsed to the floor, still screaming.

The empty church sanctuary caught the sounds of her screams and bounced them around the high-ceiling room. Her own voice was all she could hear. The body was the only thing she could see. The coppery smell of blood nearly overwhelmed her.

Something flashed in the open doorway six feet away. A dark figure seemed to fly across the threshold, landed next to her, and rolled to a stop on one knee. His eyes blazed like black flame, and his black hair framed the murderous face of a devil.

Cindy screamed louder and tried to push away from her position on the floor, but her hand slipped on the glossy surface of a playing card and she fell onto the man-devil's shoulder. He wrapped one arm around her waist, and with the other he pulled her head down to his chest. She struggled against him, but he held her so tightly she couldn't free herself.

I don't want to die! She pummeled him with her free fist.

Through the haze of terror that enveloped her, she heard him speak. "I'm Jeremiah, the rabbi from next door. You're safe."

Safe. Safe. The word rattled around in her brain until she finally remembered its meaning. No one is ever safe. She stopped screaming, but her body shook with gulping sobs. With her head pressed to his chest she could no longer see the body on the floor. She forced herself to take deep breaths.

The rabbi shifted slightly and let go of the back of her head. She heard him dialing three digits on a cell phone: 9-1-1.

"Yes, this is Jeremiah Silverman. I'm at the Presbyterian church on the corner of Main and Lincoln in Pine Springs. I'm in the sanctuary with a lady who just found a dead body here. Send the police. Yes. Yes. That's correct. Thank you."

"The police are on their way," he said still hanging on to his cell. His voice was calm and soothing.

She nodded.

"Are you okay? You're not hurt at all?" he asked.

"My arm hurts and my knees from when I tripped," Cindy said. She forced out each word through chattering teeth.

"I think you're okay. You're just in shock."

Of course she was in shock. She remembered how it felt. It was one of the only things she remembered about that day when she was fifteen and saw her first dead body.

"Let me help you up," Jeremiah said.

Some morbid part of her wanted to look at the body again, to reassure herself that it was no one she knew. The rest of her was quite sure she'd never forget what she had seen.

I'm going to be sick. She stumbled a few feet away from the rabbi.

"Hold on. Where are you going?"

"I need to get out of here," she said.

"I don't think that's a good idea. Wait until the police get here. In the meantime, this will keep you a little warmer." Jeremiah slipped his coat around her shoulders. "Put your arms into the sleeves."

"He's dead, right?" She knew the man was dead. Eyes didn't lie, and the dead man's eyes told her everything. Still, she needed to hear it, needed to know that she was right. Needed for someone else to acknowledge it.

"Yes, he's dead." Jeremiah's voice was calm and authoritative.

Cindy nodded. He put his arms around her, and she gladly leaned into him again. They slid to the floor against the back pew to wait for help.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from The Lord Is My Shepherd The Psalm 23 Mysteries #1 by Debbie Viguie Copyright © 2010 by The United Methodist Publishing House. Excerpted by permission of Abingdon Press. 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
( 78 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(27)

4 Star

(28)

3 Star

(14)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 78 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 14, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    It reminded me of the Rabbi novels by Harry Kemelman. I was plea

    It reminded me of the Rabbi novels by Harry Kemelman. I was pleasantly surprised by it. Considering it's geared for a Christian audience, it was a little surprised by how dark the nature of the crimes were. But, if you've actually read your Bible, you'll know that there is some pretty violent stuff portrayed, it's just not usually as graphic. I'm looking forward to reading the next couple of installments in this series.

    The eBook was formatted well with no obvious errors.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 18, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Nice Series Beginning

    I picked "The Lord Is My Shepherd" because I was looking for a cozy mystery. I love that cozy mysteries give you a mystery without the sex and foul language. Cozies also involve more characters that I can relate to. Let's face it, for the most part, the people we know aren't fashion models, movie stars or explorers. Most of us through six degrees of separation may know someone in a high end career, but most of us still live our day-to-day lives far from a spotlight. In a cozy anyone can become a central character to an adventure be that person a grandma, waitress, real estate agent or even a church secretary.

    Now this cozy was a little more bloody and creepy than the usual cozy, but it still had most of the key ingredients that I enjoy. Cindy is a mild-mannered and perhaps slightly bored church secretary who literally stumbles on a corpse in the church sanctuary of all places. The story immediately moves forward from there and introduces Rabbi Jeremiah Silverman and man other characters. Together they have quite a wild ride and some rough patches and truly I had no idea who the actual killer was. Let's just say that was a thrill in itself as I almost always figure things out.

    "The Lord Is My Shepherd" delighted me so much that I immediately began to read the next book in the series "I Shall Not Want." The icing on top of the cake is that both books in the series, well actually all three of the books in the series were for free at various times.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2011

    Pleasant mystery

    This is another amatuer sleuth mystery. A church secretary and a Rabbi from the temple next door meet at a murder scene. The mystery is complex and hard to guess who done it. The romance is only hinted at and friendship is the thing. I found the second book in the series somewhere and read both in sequence and immediately. That's something I don't usually do. The characters had a hold on me! Overall, it's a nice read. You'll enjoy it if you like the genre.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2011

    Fantastic story and writing

    I was hooked on this story from the first sentence. It was tight, quick writing. The plot was very good and you were kept on your toes the entire time.
    I am definitely ready to buy more of this author's books. And I truly love this series even with just one book read.
    This is a definite read for anyone who loves mysteries. It is a definite read for anyone who loves a good writer. You do not get bored with this story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 27, 2011

    Surprisingly addictive

    Yes the story was not the most believable but it was a surprisingly light hearted read for all the bodies and death. I found myself smiling and laughing at several places. I intend to read more and watch the two main characters evolve. After so many highly graphic murder mystery writers it's nice to have a good mystery with enough hope and laughter to have an ending that leaves you wanting more.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2011

    Not too bad!

    I was suprised to find a religious mystery. Being it was free was even better. I was totally involved...the characters were believable nd it had several twists and turns. Good book, I will pirchase the next in her series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2013

    Good

    Good

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2013

    Religion & murder mystery

    190 pages.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2013

    Kept me guessing

    Wasn't sure what to expect. Found a pleant not too gory mystery. Pleasantly surprised. Like the fact the story was not too long.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2013

    Interesting twist

    Great book on the last few days

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2013

    I chose this book for our church book club & after reading t

    I chose this book for our church book club & after reading the first 2 chapters I immediately called our group to change books. The humor is sacrilegious and demeaning to Jesus' death & resurrection. Even leaving that aside, the writing was the style of what you would find in "young adult" (middle school age) books. I would not recommend this to anyone and I plan on deleting it from my Nook.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2012

    Great Read. Fun and entertaining. Did not figure it out until

    Great Read. Fun and entertaining. Did not figure it out until author wanted me to.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2012

    Great read

    Love this series!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2012

    Good Read

    Good Read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2012

    exellant book!

    this book is very interesting. I liked it a lot. JAL

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2012

    Enjoyable book

    I enjoyed this book. It kept me up way past midnight. A good read

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  • Posted September 17, 2012

    GREAT MYSTERY

    This is the first installment of the Psalm 23 Mystery Series and I throughly enjoyed it. Overall an intriguing mystery that kept my attention through the entire novel. Character development very good. A real page turner and I highly recommend this book

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  • Posted September 11, 2012

    Spring is here, bringing on Easter Week and Passover.  Cindy's c

    Spring is here, bringing on Easter Week and Passover.  Cindy's church and Jeremiah's synagogue are next door to each other.  This is convenient because both congregations can use the other's parking lot for overflow parking during services.  But when Cindy's screams in the church are heard by Jeremiah in the parking lot, a new alliance is formed.

    There's a body in the church and fear and death draw people together.  While the police, led by Mark, try to figure who this dead stranger is, Cindy and Jeremiah, who Mark dubs 'The Good Samaritan', find themselves as detectives too because someone seems to be targeting Cindy also.  Cindy can't leave things alone because her fears are driving her innate curiosity to find solutions.  Jeremiah's mysterious past and his drive to protect Cindy get him involved more than some in his congregation appreciate.

    This fun mystery also captures the mind and motives of a vicious serial murderer, but the story is filled more with hope and religious understanding than with morbid descriptions. The uniting for good and helpful interactions make this an unusual but fantastic book for all mystery lovers .

    Thankfully, there are two more books in this series, because I'm left wanting more from these characters .  I also want to learn more of their pasts, only hinted at in this first book. And lastly, I really like how the respectful interactions are blooming between these two religions.  But mostly, the mystery was fast passed and terrific all by it's self !

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  • Posted September 7, 2012

    Can't wait to read the next books

    This was a fun murder mystery, light yet not obvious, with a little romantic flavor. I loved the church setting.

    I'm buying the next books and will be watching for the whole series!

    Yummy!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 10, 2012

    I enjoyed this series very much! Yes, it was more graphic than s

    I enjoyed this series very much! Yes, it was more graphic than some Christian cozy mysteries, but it was nice not to have a syrupy sweet plot, either! I read all three books, and they don't disappoint!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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