The Church Builder

Title:  The Church Builder
Author:  A.L. Shields
Pages:  420
Year:  2013
Publisher:  Zondervan
Bethany Barclay is a lone lawyer, practicing in a small town in Virginia.  She has some family she sees fairly regularly and her mentor, a former judge, with whom she also stays in touch with regularly.  Her best friend, Annabelle Seaver, is to put it nicely…flaky.  Bethany really has no other social contacts.  Annabelle enters her life sporadically on Annabelle’s time table, which is never predictable.  Then Annabelle winds up dead.  At first, Annabelle’s death is written off by authorities as an accident, but Bethany soon discovers that is not true.  As Bethany returns home from Annabelle’s funeral, she faces a most unpleasant discovery.  She is forced to join the nonpublicized battle of believers versus nonbelievers in God.
Bethany talks with her friend, Judge Harrigan, about Annabelle’s death.  The judge, unbeknownst to Bethany, subtlety manipulates Bethany into retracing Annabelle’s steps before her death to discover what or why she might have known that could have caused her death.  Bethany starts searching and becomes the target of two specific organizations, the Wilderness and the Garden, or are there others after her too?  These people play for keeps and are not above using deception, manipulation, threats and for some even death.  Bethany is also on the run from law enforcement as she is being framed for murder and terrorist acts.  She must use all her wits to stay out of everyone’s grasp to find answers, but who can she really trust?  There is so much more at stake that Bethany is unaware of, but begins to understand.  She is strong, courageous, resourceful and tenacious.
This is a great suspense story with an intricate plot and curves thrown in that readers won’t see coming.  The story begins slowly, but please keep reading because it is truly worth reading.  After about the first third of the book, I couldn’t read fast enough.  All thoughts of household chores were put on hold to continue this exciting adventure.  I wouldn’t want the rest of this story to go untold.  I liked how the Scriptures Bethany memorized as a child came to mind when she needed them most and comforted her.  The ending of this book leaves off on a cliffhanger, so there has got to be a second book in the works.  At least I sure hope so!  I can’t wait for the next book!!
My rating is 5 stars.

Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book.  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at
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