I must admit I wasn’t expecting much when I picked up a copy of Crimson Snow by William Kritlow. He’s an author I’ve never heard of. I confess it was the novel’s setting, the Lake Champlain region of New England, that lured me to check out this book.
In the opening pages a murder has been committed at a community church in the small town of Sugar Steeple, Vermont. The body lying in the snow is that of the assistant pastor. The police detectives have precious little information to go on and suspect it could be someone connected to the church.
Meanwhile in Atlanta, Georgia, we are introduced to a socially immature seminary graduate named “Win” Brady who still resides at the seminary three and a half years after his graduation. A Dean at the seminary is pressured by Brady’s wealthy father to force Win’s exit from the safe confines of the seminary, wanting him to do something “productive” with his life. The Dean just so happens to have ties to New England, and you guessed it, the town of Sugar Steeple.
From this point on the book sprouts wings and soars as I watched Win Brady clumsily navigate his first ever assistant pastorate. He becomes enamored with a woman police officer who somehow convinces him to work undercover for a hard-nosed detective. As the book progresses, a spiritual battle unfolds pitting good against evil.
Kritlow has succeeded in creating well-developed characters and an engaging plot that keeps you guessing as to who the real killer is. I’m looking forward to reading the next two books in the Lake Champlain Mystery series.