Since my opinion is contrary to the majority of those posted, it’s hard to know where to start in this review of “A Pilgrimage to Death” by Alexa Padgett writing as J.J. Cagney so I’ll just forge ahead and get ‘er done. Our heroine, the Reverend Ceci (Cecelia) Gurule retrned to her hometown of Santa Fe to avenge her twin sister’s death. Aci (Anna Carmen) was stabbed to death on a city stree the t in broad daylight and the police have zero leads. I’m lost as to why the Rev thinks she can figure out and find the killer when she has absolutely no experience as a detective, but she doesn’t let that stop her. Cici is lucky to have Detective Sam Chastain on her side because he does know what he’s doing, if only she would get out of the way and let him do his job.
In her quest to find the killer Cici is followed by the driver of a black pickup truck, she receives anonymous death threats, she’s stabbed, shot at with guns and a bow and arrow, and acquaintances are dropping at her feet on a daily basis. As the list of possible suspects grows, so do the attempts on Cici’s life. Sam is at his wits end trying to do his job while also protecting her but she goes blithely on her way even as the threat level ramps up. How many more lives will be lost before it ends?
The basic plotline is solid but the actual execution doesn’t fare as well. The writing is inconsistent and frankly boring in large chunks of minutiae such as when Cici is being followed through the streets of Santa Fe by an anonymous driver in a black pickup. Perhaps the author thought it would be helpful to let the reader know the name of every street the Rev turned on, although why we should care escapes me. Santa Fe residents might find those tidbits interesting but it’s significance was lost on me and only served to add to the boredom. Additionally I am amazed that a professional writer would get her homophones mixed up on “ringing” and “wringing”. I’ve never heard of “hand ringing” but can easily visualize “hand wringing” which is someone nervously clasping and squeezing their hands. Since this term occurs at least twice in this book I seriously doubt it’s a typo. There was a similar homophone mix up with “peel” that should’ve been “peal”. Makes you wonder what the copy editor was doing? In my opinion, homophone mixups are amateur errors that ought never see print.
So I’m experiencing buyer’s remorse. I got suckered into the hype and bought the three book set, which I now regret. Oh well, lesson learned. Three and a half stars.
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