Author: Janice Cantore
Publisher: Tyndale House
Detective Carly Edwards hates working in juvenile—where the brass put her after an officer-involved shooting—and longs to be back on patrol. So when a troubled youth, Londy Atkins, is arrested for the murder of the mayor and Carly is summoned to the crime scene, she’s eager for some action. Carly presses Londy for a confession but he swears his innocence, and despite her better judgment, Carly is inclined to believe him. Yet homicide is convinced of his guilt and is determined to convict him.
Carly’s ex-husband and fellow police officer, Nick, appears to be on her side. He’s determined to show Carly that he’s a changed man and win her back, but she isn’t convinced he won’t betray her again.
As the investigation progresses, Carly suspects a cover-up and strikes out on her own, uncertain whom she can trust. But when danger mounts, she begins to wonder if she made the right choice.
Detective Carly Edwards is stuck in “juvenile exile” and wishes she was back in her patrol car, on the front lines of protecting Las Playas, California. When a juvenile she knows is accused in a high-profile murder case, Carly is sure it will lead to her release from working in juvenile investigations and return her to patrol. Instead, it leads her into the investigation of her life and forces her to figure out who she can trust. Unfortunately, one of the few people she is sure she can trust is her ex-husband, a man she wants to continue to avoid. Carly and her ex must work together with the help of a few others to figure out who the real killer is and untangle the web of corruption and deceit surrounding them before someone else ends up dead.
Accused is a Christian suspense novel with romantic elements. The plot takes unexpected twists and turns, which quickly grabs the reader’s attention and holds it tightly until the end. The Christian themes could be woven in a little more smoothly in the first half of the book, but the second half mixes Christianity into the story seamlessly. The biggest issue I had with the elements of faith in the first half of the book was Carly’s somewhat repetitive negative reactions to any mention of God, prayer, or church. While it was good to see a main character in a Christian novel struggling with doubts and anger toward God, the repeated references to “Bible-thumpers” and disproportionate anger whenever anyone mentioned church or prayer to Carly felt a bit overdone.
Despite the occasionally clunky inclusion of Christian themes in the first half of the book, I enjoyed the story a great deal and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys suspense or complex mysteries. The characters are realistic with flaws as well as good qualities, and the author did a marvelous job of weaving a plot so complex that the reader is left wondering who can be trusted right along with Carly. I would read more books by Janice Cantore.