Sarah Groben is an LAPD Homicide detective and a pastor’s wife. She’s got six murders she wants to solve by Sunday. Members of a fledgling group for 10-40 window transplants seeking Christianity are being killed. A Muslim charity interested in better relations with Americans seems to be connected by the death of a former financial manager. Family members of the victims might also end up in the crosshairs if Sarah is right about a “Persecutor for Hire.”
Sarah’s partner is down with the flu and her husband Don seems like a tailor-made substitute with his knowledge of Middle eastern languages and cultures. But the case keeps getting more complicated by the minute, and Sarah and Don might not be able to crack it before the killing starts again.
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Here are a couple of snippets:
“You cannot pretend to charge me with a hate crime,” Suleiman sneered. “Christianity is the only thing the whole world is allowed to hate and to discriminate against. Look at your own schools! You ban candy canes because they represent Jesus, and celebrate Muslim culture freely. Everything else is protected, taught, encouraged. Who these days hates Christianity more than Americans?”
“Raif Izzettin, my old friend,” Don said as a shrunken, twisted old man with a thick cloud of white hair and beard opened the door of a run-down efficiency apartment in North Hollywood. “This is my wife, Sarah.”
“Groben, Groben, welcome! This is your wife? You never told me she was such a beauty!”
“Well, her name is Sarah,” Don said with a grin as they entered the tiny but tidy dwelling.
“God bless you for putting up with this rascal, my dear,” Raif said as he waved them to seats. “I am making tea. Give me just a moment.”
Sarah looked around at the shelves and small tables crammed with Middle Eastern curios. “You have so many beautiful things,” she exclaimed as the man brought a tea tray.
“They are not mine. I keep them in trust until the day they are reclaimed,” Raif said as he served them tiny cups of sweet mint tea. “Perhaps Don has told you that we met when I was known in Turkey as the Moses of Istanbul. I do not boast to say that for many years God allowed me to hold a position in the government that I discreetly used to help the persecuted find safer places to live, or to leave the country altogether. All glory to Christ, that I was privileged to be used in that way.
“So many wanted to cling to their family possessions, but they could carry nothing past inspectors, so they entrusted the things to me. I still have people arrive at my door and ask for things. I praise God with them, that they still found refuge and safety after I was forced out. These are like sacred things to me. I know the story of each one of them.”
Sarah nodded. “I would love to hear some of those stories, another time, sir, with respect.”
Raif heaved a great sigh. “But of course, you are the detective. You are here about the deaths. How many now?”
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