When Death Draws Near

Litfuse Book Tour

In When Death Draws Near, death has always been part of Gwen Marcey’s job. But when faced with her own mortality, everything takes on a different hue.

When Death Draws Near

About When Death Draws Near

Forensic artist Gwen Marcey is between jobs and homes when she accepts temporary work in Pikeville, Kentucky. The Eastern Kentucky town, located deep in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, has been plagued by a serial rapist and a series of unexplained deaths. Before Gwen can develop a composite drawing, the latest witness vanishes, just like all the previous victims.

Turning her attention to sketching the face of an unidentified body, she discovers a link between his death and a Pentecostal serpent-handling church. Serpent-handling is illegal in Kentucky, and the churches have gone underground to avoid the authorities and continue to worship as they believe. Gwen is offered a handsome reward to infiltrate the renegade members, a reward she desperately needs as it seems her breast cancer has returned.

Joined by her digitally obsessed, Generation Z daughter, Gwen goes undercover to a nineteenth century revival, planning to draw the faces of the snake handlers so they can be identified and arrested. Instead she uncovers a murderous plot and a festering evil.

My Thoughts

Gwen is a fighter, a cancer survivor and a loving Mother. She is employed in a very interesting line of work – forensic artistry, something I never even knew existed. Gwen is brought in for work in Pikeville, Kentucky where a mysterious string of rapes and deaths has occurred.

The plot is well thought out and built up, constantly keeping you guessing. The novel is full of characters and while you do need to pay attention, you will not get lost or have a hard time keeping up. I loved how the Pentecostal serpent-handling church was tied into this story. It definitely was not what I was expecting and how it was tied into the story was fascinating. We learn about their history, their beliefs and family values. While I think their beliefs are frightening at times, they have amazing family values which makes it harder to understand how they could even be associated with the rapes and deaths.

Along with her daughter, Gwen sets upon an impossible task of identifying a murderer, help to solve a case and keep them both alive. This novel was exciting and full of adventure that I just could not put down!

You can find more reviews on the Litfuse blog tour page. You can purchase a copy of the book here.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Carrie Stuart Parks is a Christy finalist as well as a Carol award-winning author. She has won numerous awards for her fine art as well. An internationally known forensic artist, she travels with her husband, Rick, across the US and Canada teaching courses in forensic art to law enforcement professionals. The author/illustrator of numerous books on drawing and painting, Carrie continues to create dramatic watercolors from her studio in the mountains of Idaho.

Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.


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