Ruby Taylor's job at the university turns interesting and it isn't long before she's in a crash course on real love and deadly university politics. It's a mystery with more twists than a silly straw. This award-winning title is guaranteed fiction!
Ruby starts to dig into the death of Theodore Aldridge, but finds herself constantly running afoul of her ex-boyfriend, local cop Wesley Burgess. He's supposed to be the "valiant vigilante," I guess --- but it's really Ruby who decides to exercise vigilante justice while looking in to Aldridge's relationship with his ex-wife, children, lover, and an odd student whom she herself now instructs, and who won't leave her alone.
The more Ruby interferes with the murder investigation, the more she and Wesley interfere with each other --- and since both of them have renewed their commitment to living by God's rules, they are wary of heating up a relationship they don't want to consummate. To complicate matters further, six-foot Ruby wears her newfound faith as awkwardly as she does her clothes (one memorable ensemble includes moon boots, a lilac down coat, and mismatched mittens). She's constantly making faux pas with her colleague Donita, an eccentric but very intelligent PhD who makes Ruby feel insecure both professionally and personally as Donita rebuffs Ruby's attempts to introduce her to Christ over a bowl of M&Ms.
Unfortunately, Ruby's ultimate lesson is more sickeningly sweet than a vat full of chocolate: the office cleaning lady, Celeste, has Down's Syndrome, and after a session of singing "Jesus Loves Me," Ruby realizes that Celeste's simple faith is more potent than her own. I didn't buy this any more than I bought Ruby and Wesley's ridiculously mangled dates --- but I did buy the idea that Ruby knows she doesn't belong in academia, and I did buy Ruby and Wesley's knowledge that their courtship is more about hearts and souls than hands and lips.
I also bought Dunn's ability to pace a murder mystery; the plot elements relating to Aldridge's murder, murderer, and motive were very well done (and it seems I'm now catching on to the author's taste for alliteration, too). One of the funniest things in the book is how Wesley, cop of the beat, nearly always fails to show up in time to save Ruby. (Her mother has an excellent scene where she does so, however.) This book goes down as quickly as chocolate, as smoothly as a mocha, and leaves more than a lingering taste for Jesus --- just the thing for a comforting, fun read.
--- Reviewed by Bethanne Kelly Patrick
Dunn does a super job of letting us see the vulnerability Ruby struggles so hard to hide from those around her. Ruby is determined to be obedient to God in all her relationships and avoid the dead-end paths she pursued before, but it seems as if no matter how hard she tries, she keeps messing up.
I found myself relating to the issues Ruby wrestles with and caring a lot about how she resolves them. This is an easy, enjoyable read with a message that will grip your heart. I highly recommend it!