Safe From Harm

( 2 )


In a new mystery featuring Texas minister Walker ?Bear? Wells, a teen tragedy hits too close to home?

The ominous text message Bear Wells received from his teenage daughter Jo simply said: ?Come home.? The Texas minister never imagined he?d rush back to find her cradling the dead body of her estranged friend Phoebe. While the death rocks Sugar Land, the apparent suicide seems like an open-and-shut case. But nothing is settled in the Wells household, especially for Jo. The deeper...

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Safe From Harm

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In a new mystery featuring Texas minister Walker “Bear” Wells, a teen tragedy hits too close to home…

The ominous text message Bear Wells received from his teenage daughter Jo simply said: “Come home.” The Texas minister never imagined he’d rush back to find her cradling the dead body of her estranged friend Phoebe. While the death rocks Sugar Land, the apparent suicide seems like an open-and-shut case. But nothing is settled in the Wells household, especially for Jo. The deeper she digs into Phoebe’s life, the more she realizes nobody knew her at all.

Bear found it hard enough dealing with Phoebe’s skimpy Goth outfits, painful-looking piercings, and the outrageous scandals she brought to his idyllic Sugar Land congregation, but now it’s his daughter who’s acting out. Jo knows Phoebe caused major problems between her picture-perfect father and stepmom, but she has no idea what’s at stake or whose lives are in jeopardy. Bear’s painfully aware that his last private investigation resulted in a bullet wound, so when Jo sneaks out alone to confront her primary suspect, he’s not only praying that he’ll find her in time—he’s asking forgiveness for what he may have to do to save her.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Sugar Land, Tex., minister Walker “Bear” Wells plays the role of a man of God much more than that of a detective, in Evans’s emotionally charged sequel to 2012’s Faithful unto Death. In the first chapter, Bear comes home to find his 15-year-old daughter, Jo, in her bedroom, cradling the body of troubled high school classmate Phoebe Pickersley, an apparent overdose victim. Jo refuses to accept that Phoebe deliberately killed herself with drugs. The bulk of the book traces the depressing arc of Phoebe’s life and her desperate search for connection, but nothing matches the intensity of the prologue, in which Phoebe lets herself into the Wells’s house shortly before her death, seeking a return to comforting childhood experiences. Bear’s common sense and devotion to family make him extremely appealing, but readers looking for structured investigation in their mysteries may feel let down. Agent: Janet Reid, FinePrint Literary Management. (Mar.)
Kirkus Reviews
Bear Wells, a Church of Christ minister, and Baby Bear, the family's 180-pound Newfoundland puppy, must cope with teenage daughters. Sugar Land, Texas is a nice community to grow up in unless your divorced mother dies from esophageal cancer and you're forced to move there and live with your dad, his twin sons, and Liz, the stepmother from hell, who suggests suicide as a nice lifestyle change. Teenager Phoebe Pickersley's solution is to dress goth, pierce herself from brow to lip and insinuate herself into the more idyllic Wells household, where she monopolizes 15-year-old Jo Wells' mom's time, manipulates Jo into doing what she wants, flirts with Jo's boyfriend, Alex, and finally so aggravates Jo that she ends the relationship. One day, Jo returns home and finds Phoebe dead in her bedroom. The fact that his daughter is suspected of supplying Phoebe with drugs sends Bear into a tailspin. He insists that Jo couldn't have done this since he knows everything about her. But he doesn't know a thing about that tattoo on her neck, her leaving the house by her bedroom window or her skipping ballet classes to take lessons in Catholicism. While Bear twists slowly in the wind, Liz, on a romantic picnic with her husband, dies from anaphylactic shock from ingesting tuna. Phoebe's alcoholic grandfather sobers up long enough to redeem an insurance policy on his granddaughter. At length, Jo gets down to sleuthing and Bear to taking long walks along the levee with Baby Bear and his secretary's curly tailed pugs as he tries to puzzle out life. As charming and wry as Evans' bright debut (Faithful Unto Death, 2012), filled with reasons to own dogs, love your children and your wife, and have faith.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425253465
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 3/5/2013
  • Series: A Sugar Land Mystery Series , #2
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 681,195
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephanie Jaye Evans is the author of Faithful Unto Death and the daughter of a trailblazing Church of Christ minister and the great-granddaughter of a circuit-riding preacher. She and her husband live in Sugar Land, Texas, and have seven grown children and two badly-behaved pugs.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 30, 2013

    This is the second in the series about a minister from the Churc

    This is the second in the series about a minister from the Church of Christ in suburban Houston, Texas. In Safe from Harm, a teenage girl dies in the preacher’s home. How can this happen and who failed to protect this child? It’s a mystery but it’s also very much about the preacher’s family and how he deals with his daughters and with his congregation. The cast of characters Evans has invented are people I like and wish I really knew. I want to know more about their lives. The author is getting better as the series progresses and I am very much looking forward to the next installment.

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  • Posted March 31, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    In this second installment of the Sugar Land Mysteries Preacher

    In this second installment of the Sugar Land Mysteries Preacher “Bear” Wells, his wife Annie Laurie, and their teenage daughter Jo get wrapped up in a death the rocks the town. Bear and his wife come home to find their daughter cradling the dead body of her friend Phoebe. Everyone believes Phoebe committed suicide, but Jo just can’t believe that. Why would Phoebe kill herself in their house?

    Bear wasn’t comfortable with Jo’s new friend but Annie Laurie saw the good in her and the tragedy in her life. Phoebe’s mother has just died and she was forced to move in with her father, her stepmother and their children. Her father seemed to have a perfect life but all is not what it seems to be. Jo finds herself caught up in the mystery of this family and Phoebe’s death. Bear just hopes he can protect his daughter.

    Dollycas’s Thoughts
    This is not a mystery that hits you right in the face. The author has written a story that engages you in the characters first and the mystery is the subplot. We were introduced to these imperfect characters in Faithful Unto Death  and quickly became invested in their lives. I like that there is a real family story outside of the questionable death of the teenager.

    Jo has teenager issues and has disagreements/fights will her friends. She is starting to date and her dad is having trouble coping with that.  Annie has a big heart and it sometimes leads her down the wrong path. Bear tries to take on everything himself but his family and Detective Wanderly work hard to keep him in check. The church volunteers are not all as they appear. Some are better and some have secrets and issues. The characters are true to way things are in life.

    This is a mystery wrapped up in a very heartfelt story driven by wonderful characters. I highly recommend this book and the first in the series as well.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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