Go to Homepage   Earlene Fowler: Steps to the Altar


Crescent Blues Book ViewsBerkley Prime Crime (Hardcover), ISBN 0-425-18349-1
Steps to the Altar, perhaps the best of the Benni Harper mystery novels since Fowler's Edgar Award-winning Mariner's Compass, follows the series' successful pattern. The author pieces together the past and present, and folds them around the life and times of Benni Harper. Readers have followed Benni, a vulnerable, yet strong and Book: Earlene Fowler, Steps to the altarfeisty woman, in her struggles with loss and love, family and relationships. We cheered as she shouldered her responsibilities and survived widowhood to marry a passionate Latino law man, Gabriel Ortiz. In this novel, the author allows readers a peek into the background and foibles of the mysterious Gabe while playing havoc with his and Benni's relationship.

Gabe and Benni stumble on the altar steps at the same time Benni's best friend, Elvia Aragon and Benni's Grandma Dove say "yes" to their suitors and begin their walk to the altar. With all the matrimonial hoopla, no one notices Gabe and Benni's marriage bend under the pressure Gabe's past brings to bear.

His former undercover partner from Los Angeles, the sexy Del Hernandez, knows Gabe's secrets. The same secrets shut Benni out and give Del a chance to take back her former lover. Even Gabe's first wife, Lydia, warns Benni about the woman who broke up their marriage.

Book: Earlene Fowler, arkansas travellerBut Benni pushes aside her own difficulties and makes arrangements for two bridal showers while in the midst of moving from her little bungalow to the first home she and Gabe will own together. Add to that, her normal chaotic life as director of the Josiah Sinclair Folk Art Museum and a last minute assignment to catalogue trunks full of personal items belonging an escaped murderess. Then, of course, there is the handsome and maddening stranger who works with Benni to solve the mystery behind the case of the missing killer.

Fowler throws a fistful of balls in the air during this eighth book of the Benni Harper series. She catches each with ease and grace, fumbling only slightly when delving into Gabe's thoughts. She distances readers through a third person point of view rather than allowing him tell his own story. Yet Fowler pulls off an enviable writing coup and gives readers a book that suspends reality and transports us to another time and place peopled with friends we cherish. In the process, the author shows us the power of true love.

Dawn Goldsmith

Click here to read Dawn Goldsmith's interview with Earlene Fowler.

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