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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
A Heritage of Death by Alexa Padgett is the second installment in the Reverend Cici Gurule Mysteries series, preceded by the first book, A Pilgrimage to Death. A Heritage of Death reads as a standalone, although skipping over the first book would be a shame as it's excellent. Cici Gurule returns in this new adventure with an intriguing fresh puzzle to piece together, beginning with recurring dreams and a missing baby at her front door. She is still grieving the loss of her murdered twin sister, Anna Carmen, and once again enlists the help of Sam Chastain to sort through a mess that continues to mount and become more deadly and dangerous, as messages from beyond challenge the balance between her faith, her safety, and a mystery that pulls her into its malignant web.
Alexa Padgett knows how to bring on the suspense and surprises, dishing both out liberally in A Heritage of Death. Cici is such an engaging character and the gentle dance between her point of view and Sam's is brilliantly done. Padgett applies Cici's paranormal connection and interactions with a restraint that allows for the main characters to do the real leg work, dropping hints here and there that are often as confounding for Cici as they were for me...which is fantastic, since I'm not terribly keen on figuring a mystery out before she does. What propels this book through to the end is the tension on every page and a strong female lead that defies stereotypes as well as all the odds stacked against her. I'm excited to see what Padgett brings as the series progresses.