All the Blue-Eyed Angels, the mystery Kindle Book Review calls “Creepy, tense, and thoroughly addictive” is available FREE this weekend, Saturday January 12 through Sunday January 13 on Amazon Kindle.
The truth will set her free… But is freedom worth the price?
Investigative journalist Erin Solomon sets out to solve a mystery that’s haunted her since childhood: a fatal fire at the Payson Church of Tomorrow, the isolated fundamentalist community where Erin lived with her father for the first ten years of her life. When what was presumed to be cult suicide turns out to be anything but, Erin returns to her hometown to find the truth behind the tragedy.
Now, isolated on the Maine coast with an old flame and a handsome newcomer with his own dark past, Erin will risk everything to uncover the secrets of Payson
Isle – secrets someone will kill to keep buried.
August 22, 1990
On my tenth birthday, I am baptized by fire.
I race through a forest of smoke, ignoring the sting of blackberry brambles and pine branches on sensitive cheeks and bare arms. Up ahead, I catch a glimpse of my father’s shirt, drenched and muddy, as he races through the woods. I follow blindly, too terrified to scream, too panicked to stop.
A figure in black chases us, gaining on me fast. At ten years old, raised in the church, I am certain that he is Death itself. He wears a hooded cloak; I imagine him taking flight at my heels, reaching for me with gnarled fingers. I run faster, my breath high in my chest, trees speeding past. The air gets thicker and harder to breathe the closer we get to the fire, but I don’t stop.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
I can hear him behind me, three or four steps back at most, his breath coming hard and his hands getting closer.
I skid into the clearing certain that I’m safe now– I’ve reached the church. The church is always safe.
But today, nothing is safe. Flames climb the blackened walls of the chapel, firemen circling with hoses to keep the surrounding forest from burning. My father has arrived ahead of me– I find him kneeling in front of a pile of rubble just feet from the flames as he cries.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. He leadeth me beside the still waters.
I go to him because I know no one else will, and wrap my arms around his neck. When I scan the tree line, the man I felt behind me just moments before is gone. Now, there is no one but the firemen, the local constable, and my mother with her doctor’s bag and no survivors to heal.
I pray in my father’s ear, whispering words of comfort the way he always has for me. There is a smell that sticks in my throat and turns my stomach, but only when my mother comes for me, trying to pull me away, do I realize what that smell is.
He restoreth my soul. He leadeth me on a path of righteousness for His name’s sake.
A coal-black, claw-like hand reaches for me from beneath the pile of burned debris where my father weeps. A few feet beyond, I see a flash of soot-stained white feathers, china-blue eyes, and a painted smile that seems suddenly cruel. I stay there, fixated on the doll, until my mother takes me in her arms and forces me away.
She sets me on the wet grass and places a mask over my face so that I can breathe. The oxygen tastes like cold water after a long drought. I sit still while the rain washes over me and my father cries and the church burns to the ground.
I’m just beginning to calm down when I feel a presence like warm breath at the back of my neck, and I turn toward the trees.
The cloaked man stands at the edge of the woods, his hood down around his shoulders. Rain plasters dark hair against his head. Water drips down high cheekbones and a thin, sharp nose.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil.
The words of my favorite Psalm stutter in my head. Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
The man in black turns his head, his dark eyes fixing on mine.
My cup runneth over.
He puts a finger to his thin lips and whispers to me through the chaos.
More than twenty years will pass before I pray again.
“In All the Blue-Eyed Angels, Blood has given us a powerful, emotionally complex story peopled with fully-realized characters and terrific, well-honed prose. Thankfully, this is but the first in the Erin Solomon mystery series. I’m very much looking forward to the others.” – Darcy Scott, author of Matinicus and Hunter/Huntress
“The pacing is flawless, building steadily to a riveting climax. The characters are complex, likable and expertly drawn.If you enjoy contemporary mysteries, then you don’t want to pass on this one, and even if–like me–you don’t usually read mysteries, I highly recommend it. The romance softens the otherwise very gritty story.” – Tahlia Newland, Awesome Indies Book Reviews
“Jen Blood has created my favorite narrator of the decade: the whip-smart, sassy, and delightfully stubborn Erin Solomon. The story she tells–with its hidden turns, dry humor, enthralling pace, persuasive complexity, and vivid setting–is absolutely unforgettable. Blood is one hell of a writer.” – Lewis Robinson, award-winning author of Water Dogs and Officer Friendly and Other Stories
“All the Blue-Eyed Angels is a stellar debut from a talented author. Jen Blood has crafted an action and suspense packed story with a conflicted and clever sleuth, a moody setting, multiple mysteries, a little romance, and plenty of twists.” Susan Vaughan, award-winning author of Primal Obsession