Psalm 27:1

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Stars Shine Bright Book Review

A Raleigh Harmon Novel

SUMMARY:  After the FBI suspends her for bending its rules, Special Agent Raleigh Harmon is looking for a chance to redeem her career and re-start her life.
     Sent undercover to a thoroughbred horse track, Raleigh takes on a double life to find out who's fixing the races.  But when horses start dying and then her own life is threatened, Raleigh realizes something bigger - and more sinister - is ruining Emerald Meadows.  
     She's never felt more alone.
     Her one contact with the FBI is Special Agent Jack Stephanson, a guy who seems to jump from antagonistic to genuine friend depending on the time of day.  And she can't turn to her family for support.  They're off-limits while she's undercover, and her mother isn't speaking to her anyway, having been confined to a mental hospital following a psychotic breakdown.  Adding insult to her isolation, Raleigh's fiance' wants them to begin their life together - now - precisely when she's been ordered not to be herself.
     With just days left before the season ends, Raleigh races to stop the killing and find out who's behind the track's trouble, all the while trying to determine if Jack is friend or foe, and whether marrying her fiance' will make things better - or worse.
     Raleigh is walking through the darkest night she's faced, searching for a place where the stars shine bright.

REVIEW:  Raleigh is having a tough time.  Her mom is in a mental hospital because of the lies Raleigh has had to tell her because of her job.  She is under intense scrutiny by the Bureau due to some decisions she made on a previous case that were not "by the book."  She is asked to go undercover to find out who is fixing the horse races at a racetrack in Seattle and has two weeks to solve the case.  Her fiance' is wanting to make their relationship permanent and doesn't understand why Raleigh want to continue working, especially as an FBI agent.  And these are just a few of the problems she has to deal with on top of all the opposition and frustrations she encounters on her job.
     This is a really good book.  The author goes into great detail describing the people, places and events that make you feel like you are right there in the scene.  There are times when I would try to rush through the story just to see what would happen next, and others when I dreaded what was going to happen because of what I imagined the outcome would be.  The author is not predictable in her writing and makes each of the different storylines and aspects of Raleigh's life come alive.  One of my favorite things is how Raleigh's faith is a major part of her character, both undercover and not.  She really struggles with having to lie to those she loves and those she works with while investigating the racetrack.  She also doesn't believe in coincidences when some different events seem random but eventually sees how God is guiding her in her quest for truth.
     The Stars Shine Bright is the fifth story in the Raleigh Harmon series.  It is beneficial to have read at least one of the other titles to fully comprehend the relationships and problems but it is not necessary. I really enjoyed this book (probably more than The Clouds Roll Away) because this time I was familiar with some of the secondary characters and events.  This made Raleigh's reactions, decisions, and outlook easier to understand and follow.

This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group for review without compensation.

Sibella Giorello began writing as a features reporter for newspapers and magazines.  Her stories won numerous awards, including two nominations for the Pulitzer Prize.  She won a Christy award for her debut novel, Stones Cry Out.  She lives in Washington state with her husband and family.  Visit her website at   

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