Fatal Illusions, by Adam Blumer (first edition: Kregel Publications, 2009; second edition: Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, 2015)
In Cincinnati, a serial killer targets fair-haired teen girls with wire-rimmed glasses. After four years, the detective most invested in the case, Chuck Riley, has to retire and leave it un-solved.
In Chicago, Gillian Thayer can’t get past her grief over losing her unborn twins after years of fertility treatments. Her husband, Marc, is a busy pastor who’s never around. Her only daughter, Crystal, is 16 and beginning to move outside Gillian’s protective reach. Crystal, as it happens, has fair hair and new wire-rimmed glasses.
When Marc is involved in a scandal, his church asks him to take a leave of absence until the fuss dies down. They find him temporary work at a historic lighthouse in Whistler’s Point, on the shores of Lake Superior in Northern Michigan.
The Thayers haven’t even heard of the Magician Murderer. And nobody has any idea that the killer has relocated to Whistler’s Point.
Fatal Illusions is compelling suspense that includes snippets from the killer’s point of view without becoming too graphic. At the same time, it’s character-oriented, and those characters are people we can root for (or at least root for them to change, in a couple of cases).
The Thayers are Bible-believing Christians, but they deal with ongoing human weaknesses. A bonus for me was seeing how they try to apply their faith to their struggles, and how in their better moments they realize there’s more at stake than their particular circumstances. At times both Gillian and Crystal stop to ponder what God might want to do or say through them to the people they’re with.
The faith element is not heavy-handed, but it gives an encouraging example to believing readers who, like the Thayers, are still learning to fully live by faith.
Fatal Illusions is Adam Blumer’s first novel. His second, The Tenth Plague, also features Marc and Gillian Thayer. For more about the author and his books, visit adamblumerbooks.com.
[Review copy from my personal library.]