Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Righteous

The Righteous
Author: Michael Wallace
Thomas & Mercer, 2012
338 pages

Deep in the heart of the US state of Utah lies a polygamist community called Blister Creek, where a young wife of an elderly husband is brutally murdered. From their sister community in Alberta (Canada), Jacob, a medical student from a highly respected family, is requested to go to Blister Creek to investigate the murder. He takes along his sister Eliza, who at seventeen is considered of marriageable age, with the intent that (despite her own wishes) she will choose one of three Blister Creek men to marry.

When they arrive in Utah, they find a community who wants to blame the murder on a group of immigrant laborers working in the area. But when Jacob examines the body, it becomes clear that the murder was not committed by an outsider. However, someone doesn't want Jacob to uncover the truth, and soon both he and Eliza are in serious danger.

Meanwhile, Eliza is being forced to choose one of her three potential husbands. One is in his seventies and already has several wives; another is the same age as Eliza but not a nice person at all (in fact, he's so despicable, it's creepy); and the third, while handsome and seemingly honorable, has his shortcomings. Eliza is fully aware of the female role in her community, but this doesn't stop her from wanting more options.

It's difficult to write much more about this book without revealing spoilers. Let's just say the pace is fast, the plot is unique, and the bad guys are really bad. I found the setting (both the physical location and the polygamist community) to be intriguing; this may be a point of interest for other readers, as well.

I enjoyed the book and can't wait to read the others in The Righteous series. There are currently three available (Mighty and Strong and The Wicked), with a fourth (The Blessed and the Damned) expected in October, 2012.