cover image ELIXIR


T. Davis Bunn, . . Westbow/Thomas Nelson, $14.99 (299pp) ISBN 978-0-8499-4471-0

Using such diverse locations as Florida, Maryland, Scotland and the French Basque region as his backdrops, Bunn crafts a competent suspense novel with faith themes that should appeal to both inspirational and general market audiences. Thirty-year-old Taylor Knox knows he's doomed when the pharmaceutical lab he works for is about to be acquired by his old flame Kirra's family business, Revell. Taylor and Kirra's relationship ended badly, and the Revell family is bitter toward Taylor. But Kirra has disappeared, and despite her loathing for Taylor, chairman Amanda Revell wants him to help the family locate her sister. As Taylor traces Kirra, he discovers she's been investigating natural healing compounds found in plants—compounds that may threaten the very pharmaceutical empire her family has created. Is familial love the real reason they wish to find her? Taylor's search for Kirra leads him to an abbey in Scotland, where a communal prayer, "Lord lead me from the darkness of my own making," haunts him. His quest to find Kirra also becomes a passion to quench the demons from his past. The plot unfolds well, and while the number of locations may make readers' heads spin, the novel's historical details about the Minorcans and the Basque people yield good results. Fresh phrases, strong verbs and solid descriptions leaven some of the slower-paced surfing scenes, and Taylor's spiritual journey feels believable and inviting. The ending, while not wholly unexpected, holds a few surprises. (Apr.)