A Heritage of Death (A Reverend Cici Gurule Mystery Book 2) by Alexa Padgett is an adventure into child abuse and murder in the Pueblos of New Mexico. The Reverend Cici Gurule has one special talent that makes her invaluable in solving crimes. Her twin sister was murdered and since then Cici has been receiving visitations and dreams from her late sister that give her clues that assist her to unravel complicated and even unsolved crimes. With her best friend Detective Sam Chastain, they are able to get the jump on other law enforcement people. When an abducted baby mysteriously turns up on Cici’s doorstep one stormy evening, she and Sam begin to investigate the abduction of one of Cici’s own parishioners. Their search for the missing woman takes them from Santa Fe to the Pueblo of Taos and a slew of cold cases involving missing and murdered indigenous women. Underlying the story is the on-going romantic tension between Cici and Sam. Cici always believed Sam was in love with her late twin sister, but recent events have led her to question Sam’s motives and feelings for Cici. Her search for some clarity on his feelings and her visions will lead them both into dangerous and uncharted waters.
This is the second book in the Reverend Cici Gurule Mysteries, but having not read the first in no way impinges on the reader’s enjoyment of this story. It stands alone, as a murder mystery. Author Alexa Padgett does a good job of seeding little nuggets of information, on what went before, into the story to keep the reader informed and understand the scenario that is developing. At its core this is a classic “whodunit” story but with the added spice of the psychic bond between Cici and her dead twin, plus the simmering sexual tension between the Reverend and Sam, it lifts itself out of the ordinary. The writer’s style is relaxed and easy to read, with some excellent descriptive passages that bring the reader right into the action in the searing heat of a New Mexico environment. There is plenty of action for the fans of that genre, but for me, the real action was the simmering relationship between Cici and Sam. If anything was to make me look for the next book in this series, it would be to see what develops between the pair. Clearly well researched, this novel is a good read within its genre and one I can definitely recommend to fans of murder mysteries.