Book Review: Defenders of Justice #1: Fatal Frost by Nancy Mehl

fatal-frostFatal Frost is the first book in the Defenders of Justice series by Nancy Mehl. I was excited to receive this copy as the synopsis from the publisher sounded intriguing and unique for a Christian fiction novel.

First of all, this was an exciting read! It was unlike any other Christian fiction I’ve read. Too often, Christian fiction “plays it safe” rather than placing characters in contemporary, conflicting, and exciting situations. I also find that Christian fiction often goes overboard on the Christian theme, with the characters praying or quoting the Bible on every other page. This book, however, kept the Christian theme subtly woven throughout the book. It wasn’t too much or too little.

The story started like any other crime thriller you might read from a non-Christian publisher, and I liked that. The fact that the main character, Mercy, was a flawed, struggling, everyday character made her relatable. I love that she questioned faith, church, and God because it felt natural for someone who wasn’t raised in the Christian faith to do so.

This is a fast paced crime drama about U.S. Marshal Mercy Brennan, her lifelong friend and fellow Marshal, Tally, and her Marshal ex-boyfriend, Mark. A string of crimes and murders involving local gangs and drug cartels lands the trio stranded in the middle of nowhere in an ice storm unsure of just who they can trust.

I liked the chemistry between Mercy and Mark, and no, there was nothing inappropriate. Some realistic issues came up throughout the book, such as what happens in a relationship when one person finds God and the other hasn’t yet. Or the guilt we might feel over things in our past after we’ve found the Lord.

The characters were well-developed. Mehl gives us glimpses into their pasts and helps us to understand their struggles, their fears, and their desires. I loved the lifelong friendship between Mercy and Tally and even the estranged relationship between Mercy and her father. I appreciated that no one had a sudden enlightening and instantly converted but each character had to open himself or herself up to the ideas of God and faith gradually. I also appreciated Mehl’s showing us that not everyone who lives a life of crime desires to do so. In a desperate world live desperate people. Like I said, this book is more real than any other Christian fiction I’ve read.

Overall, I found this book to be realistic and entertaining. I’m excited that it’s the first of a series and am anxiously awaiting the next installment! I’m interested to find out if Mercy’s story continues or if the series will focus on a number of main characters, perhaps a different one per book. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see! Until then, I think I will look up some of Mehl’s other books to hold me over!

One of my favorite passages from the book:

“’Don’t worry about what you’ve already done, Mark. That’s gone and forgiven. It happened, but it doesn’t shape who you are now’

‘I don’t think Mercy sees it that way.’

‘Of course she doesn’t. But don’t you see that when she realizes the past doesn’t have to define us, she will want that too? Just live your life with God in a real way. Don’t put on an act. It’s the only way others will ever want what we have. They want to see real people who have been changed by the love of God.’” – Fatal Frost

I received a free copy of the book for today’s review from Bethany House Publishers. All opinions are my own.

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