Chasing Angels, by Karin Kaufman (2020)
Layered characters, vivid descriptions, twists and surprises, and solid Biblical truth in a spiritual warfare novel with some fully criminal humans as well. This book satisfied me as a reader and as a writer. Karin Kaufman started this new series off with a winner.
Teagan Doyle is chasing angels, desperate to find hope. Instead, she and her boss/mentor John Bergland (Berg) find demons. Sometimes. Often their paranormal investigations turn up wobbly pipes and other natural explanations for the things that freak out their clients.
But not this time. Their current case involves a former church whose new owners want to renovate into a bed and breakfast. Renovations have turned up a body walled up in the basement. The owners report flickering electricity, cold drafts, moving objects… and not one natural cause in sight.
Teagan and Berg don’t believe in ghosts and refuse to work with mediums or spiritists. They believe the God of the Bible. And in angels, both holy and fallen.
Part of what makes this book shine is their unlikely but perfect pairing. Teagan’s past is a string of unhappy endings, including washing out of police academy, infertility, and a cheating ex-husband. Berg is in his seventies, a retired minister, his movement restricted by severe arthritis.
The way Teagan describes Berg is how I feel about them both:
“I caught his past and his personality in snippets, quilting them together over time to form my idea of who he was.” [Kindle location 465]
Other favourite lines:
“If you cash in your chips because you think God can’t use a sinner, you don’t know your Bible.” [Kindle location 2870]
“You get to ask forgiveness for your serious lapse in judgement, believe God when he says he forgives, and then move on and do your job.” [Kindle location 2876]
Told from Teagan’s point of view, the writing is taut with a bit of a noir feel. I like the mix of human and supernatural villains, and I didn’t find it too scary (I did stick to reading during daylight!).
Despite being Christian fiction, the book has some minor profanity. If that’s an issue for you, be warned going in. I found it jarring but not enough to put me off the story. This is one series I hope to follow to the end.
Chasing Angels is book 1 in the Teagan Doyle Mystery Series. Book 2, Call of Chaos, will pick up right on its heels.
Karin Kaufman writes in a wide spectrum of fiction, from intense novels like this and the Anna Denning series to lighter-hearted cozy mysteries like the Juniper Grove series and Smithwell Fairies series to the Geraldine Woolkins children’s books. For more about the author and her work, visit karinkaufman.com.
[Review copy from my personal library.]