Pastor Luke Bowers

(creator: James Lilliefors)


James Lilliefors
Pastor Luke Hardy is a Methodist pastor who lives happily with his wife Charlotte (who is a historian who works at home) and their dog Sneakers in the Chesapeake Bay community of Tideswater County, where he had introduced such new ideas as AA meetings and prison ministry, that had been "things not universally welcomed".

Luke had been adopted at an early age and so had never known his real parents. His adoptive parents "were travellers who nurtured in him a capacity for wonder and a healthy sense of curiosity." Before becoming a seminarian, he had worked as an EMT (emergency medical technician) and as a paramedic. He saw himself "in the good and evil business. His job was to help people find greater meaning in the ordinary march of their days." He enjoyed "the duties of being pastor, meeting people, helping members of the church, and working to expand the congregation" and relied on faith and prayer and divine inspiration to "prevent evil from claiming a victory."

James Lilliefors is a journalist and bestselling novelist who grew up in the Washington, D.C. area. He was educated at the University of Iowa and the University of Virginia, where he was a Henry Hoyns Fiction Writing Fellow. He worked for many years as a newspaper editor and reporter in Maryland and in Florida. He is the author of a number of fiction and non-fiction titles including the geopolitical thriller novels The Leviathon Effect and Viral. The Psalmist (reviewed below) is the first of a series of mystery novels set in the Chesapeake Bay community of Tidewater County. He lives with his wife in South Florida.

The Psalmist (2014)
The Psalmist starts on a cold winter morning in the Chesapeake Bay community of Tidewater County when Pastor Luke Bowers discovers a dead woman seated in a pew at his church. He soon forms a partnership with Maryland State Police homicide investigator Amy Hunter. In fact, she does nearly all the detective work, helped by his insights as when he recognises that the sequence of numbers carved onto the victim's right-hand are references to the Book of Psalms. Then similar carvings are found on other victims. It seems that a serial killer must be at work.

The task of tracking down the deranged killer is made much complicated by the hostility of local Sheriff Calvert who bitterly resents Amy's arrival. He is so unpleasant in fact that you even wish it were he who could turn out to be the murderer! But there are other much more likely suspects including the mysterious Jackson Pynne about whom there is a local saying that something strange happens whenever he comes to town. And there is a sinister hitman employed by somebody known only as The Client.

Meanwhile Pastor Luke can relax by joining his wife in sexual role-plays, when she becomes Dr Nicely, "Luke's expensive six therapist, who made house calls, one of their favourite recurring role-plays." It's an aspect of clerical life that one doesn't usually hear much about.

It is a story that gets off to a slow start but gets much more interesting as the plot develops, so much so that by the end, when you reach the end of one chapter, you immediately want to start the next.



The author has his own website.



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The Psalmist cover
The cover looks appropriately sinister.
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