"The Wicked Bible" By Sharon L. Dean: Review/Giveaway

Review by Kathleen Costa

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win an ebook copy of the book and a link to purchase it.

After the devastating tragedy of losing her husband and three-year-old daughter in an auto accident twenty years ago, Deborah Strong returned to the comfort of her hometown Shelby, New Hampshire. She earned a degree in library sciences and, as the head librarian, is spending her time bringing the local library into the twenty-first century. She’s ignoring her mother’s efforts to matchmake along with trying to forget the murderous cold case in which she had recently been entangled. So, a week-long library conference held at Murkland College is one way to gain some personal peace and professional insights, but it is a bit bittersweet. She’s beginning to entertain being more open to a new relationship, but Murkland is the site of a terrible incident and memories have been bubbling up to the surface. A blind date. A frat party. A ruined evening.

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Image Source Encircle Publications
The Wicked Bible
Earns 5/5 Mysterious Misprints…Fascinating & Clever!

“Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free

“Libraries: Where Have We Been, Where are We Going?” is a fascinating topic for the conference sponsored by the New Hampshire Humanities Council. Participants, educators and librarians alike, have been assigned to break-out groups for post-lecture discussions and a research project: choose an artifact from the archives, find out how the library acquired it along with any historical significance and why it was considered collectible. There are so many fascinating items to choose from, and Deborah’s choice, a letter from Clara James to nineteenth century author Abigail Brewster, strikes a chord. Her friend Susan Warner wrote a book using many of Brewster’s letter, but this correspondence seems to be a bewildering find. The conference gets complicated when the police show up and announce all of the attendees will be searched. Due to their unfettered access to the archives, they are suspects in a theft…The Wicked Bible, one of very few copies still in circulation, is missing. Then Deborah’s Clara James letter is no where to be found. Are the stolen items connected? The conference presenter, John Hastings, has taken a personal interest in Deborah, but his behavior is somewhat of an enigma, and the stranger, a scarred man with a cane, seems to be following Deborah and trying to engage her making her leery and concerned. What interest do the two men hold with Deborah?

Engaging! Sharon L. Dean has woven fascinating historical references with her fictional heroine into a compelling drama, and although sans any murder, the mystery is very engaging, and Deborah’s research and investigation into the thefts has put her in danger. Couldn’t put it down. The story of fictional author Abigail Brewster, first introduced in Death of a Keynote Speaker of the Susan Warner Mysteries, has contemporary significance when linked to Madame Restell, dubbed “The Wickedest Woman in New York” due to her work with women who found themselves pregnant. Also The Wicked Bible‘s humorous misprint (“Thou shall commit adultery.”), which seems to validate adultery, brings out the scholars and fanatics; this makes for intriguing motives. The research into Deborah’s artifact, topics of discussion important to libraries, and debate on the role of Women’s Studies in a college setting added to my interest. Dean’s writing style is entertaining soliciting several reactions to the descriptions and clever banter from a soft giggle to “oh, no!” alarm. The heroine is confronted with many images that make her think closely about her loss, but she’s gaining a better perspective and finding the pain she’d felt after twenty-five years is more manageable. Excellent journey!

Interesting! Susan Warner, the lead in Dean’s can’t miss Susan Warner Mystery series, has a cameo in this series as an important reference. In Susan’s professional capacity she has insights into Abigail Brewster, but she is secretive, not forthcoming, and asks Deborah to “leave it” when some fascinating details are discovered about a time in Brewster’s life scholars knew little about. Marvelous crossover element!

Wiki-worthy! My favorite element in any of the books I read is the inclusion of real-life or historical facts, characters, and events. I was intrigued to learn about the omission of “not” in one of the Ten Commandments in a version of King James Bible dubbed Wicked Bible (1631)  along with the Slave Bible, an 1807 censored version of the Bible printed to foster a pro-slavery Christianity in the West Indies. With women’s reproductive rights a hot-button topic, I googled more about Madame Restell, aka Ann Trow Lohman (1812-1878). Check out these Wikipedia articles.

Deborah Strong Mystery

The Barn (2020) KRL News review HERE

The Wicked Bible (2021)

Be a Big Sharon L. Dean Fan! 

Sharon L. Dean was a professor of English who chose to trade in the academic pen for writing mysteries incorporating Google-worthy historical links. Her three-book Susan Warner series Review here on KRL News & Reviews (Dec. 2018) are standalones and highly recommended. Check out on Amazon: Tour de Trace (2014), Death of a Keynote Speaker (2015), and Cemetery Wine (2016). My suggestion? Read them all! A fun note…it's delightful that in book one she added a lavender streak to her silver locks, then in book two she changes to maroon, and in book three it was copper…I love it!

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Website - Sharon L. Dean

To enter to win am ebook copy of The Wicked Bible, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "wicked,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen January 8, 2022. US residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via comment please include your email address so we can contact you. . You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode goes up next week.

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Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is a 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying her retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband.
Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


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