At 37,000 feet altitude one may say there’s not much to do. I, however, found almost everything I needed – guilt-free time in a rare moment of not writing my own work or working my day job. I delved into my Kindle and my finger paused on Zig Ziglar’s “Born to Win”. 37% left to read. No.
I clicked through the next few Home pages and was arrested (pun intended). “Deadly Devotion”. But it was not the title that caught my attention as much as it was the memory of reading somewhere that the author, Sandra Orchard, had been inspired to write one of her suspense novel (not this one) while on a vacation cruise. I, too, was only hours away from my holiday destination, and “Deadly Devotion” seemed a natural fit.
I was immediately absorbed in the book, so much so that I did not hear my husband, next to me, speak, but I felt his touch to get my attention. “Keep reading at your pace, but would you mind if I read over your shoulder?”
Would I mind? My husband does not engage in recreational reading, so that he would be caught up in Orchard’s mystery rather than catching up on sleep, was a sign that we were reading the works of an incredibly talented writer.
Author Sandra Orchard is compelling in her ability to characterize. She does a masterful job at creating suspense, and I curled my toes as I pronounced a sentence on Edward, then Darryl, then the police chief, no, his father, and then on all of them collectively. Finally, I gave up being detective and tried a “back-door” approach to sleuthing (I’m not giving that secret away) but the point I’m trying to make is that Orchard veered my thoughts in a direction I would not have ordinarily pursued. My higher-order thinking surfaced and I correctly guessed who had murdered Daisy.
Writers 101 underscores “Show, not tell”. Sandra Orchard has honed in that ability and showing is evident in “Deadly Devotion”. I was ever mindful of the picture images and sensory usage in general. I don’t drink tea but I tasted it in the novel. When the iceberg that crept into Tom and Hank’s friendship caused Tom to debate if he should wear hats and mittens, I smiled at the unique word picture and understood all too well the strained relationship, having actually read this book in hats and mittens season.
When my husband asked me on the second day of our holiday who was the killer, I reminded him that I would not be reading until the return trip. He was so curious that he forgot and asked me twice again during the trip. A testimony to Orchard’s ability to write creatively, intelligently, logically, and to mystify. “Deadly Devotion” is a skillfully crafted novel that I have now passed on to my teenager. If I collate the satisfaction derived from all three members of my family, I’d have to rate this book as 15 stars. I hope your family enjoys it as much as we did. And though it is my first book by this author, it will not be my last.