Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
Homicide Detective, Logan St. Martin, buries herself in her work during the day, and finds herself trying to drink her haunted past away at night.
But when a series of horrific murders rock her small town deep in the bayous of Louisiana,
she finds herself on a path of discovery into a sadistic killer’s mind.
Their beauty was in the ashes, and they all died alone.
Repentance was the killer’s way, and damnation became his weapon.
Detective St. Martin and her partner, Detective Grasso, are in pursuit of a twisted soul who is leaving bodies in his wake. It’s a race against time when Logan realizes the killer has turned his sights on her.
Excerpt from the Text
Monday Dooms Day
As I sit stone cold in silence watching the local news, I feel the rage building inside me. Never did I think that he would take her away from me. I was saving her. She wasn’t beyond redemption. I just needed a little longer for her to see the error of her ways. Suddenly, I’m unable to control the tears now falling down my face, feeling the overwhelming need to get out and get some fresh air. But where? Where can I go? I can’t afford for anyone to see me in this condition.
As I find myself pacing the floor, I think back to how this all got started, remembering that she was trying to leave me. I thought she loved me. Why would she want to sin and take off? She had lost her way, and I was trying to help her find it. Now I realize I’d had her. She had not yet repented, but I still had her. It was you, Lord! It was you who took her away from me, damn you!
Feeling my knees buckling me, I fall to the floor, unable to stop the ranting that flows out of my mouth.
“Lord, I fall upon my knees, begging for some understanding. Why? Why are you punishing me? I just needed a little more time, Lord. She would have repented for her sins. I was doing your will, Lord. I could have made her see the light.
“Answer me! I have spent my entire life living by the Word, God. Your words! I followed your commandments, casting aside the laws of the flesh, and still you snuffed her out from under me, not even allowing her soul to be saved. Damning her into eternal hell! I’m begging for a sign! It’s as though you have turned your back on me.
“I’ll never understand your need to take my angel from me. She was a lost soul in this world—a world that we have walked all alone. It was supposed to be me! I was supposed to go first. I am the one who has always endured all the pain and hurt. You are not a merciful god. You are cruel and heartless, no different than any human. I know now the liar you really are, and the man I really am. I will no longer walk this earth blinded by your lies.”
Tuesday Day of Reckoning
As I find myself still lying on the cold floor from last night, I feel alone. Never have I felt so empty. Pulling myself up onto my knees, the tears begin to fall again. God has left me alone. I try to pray, but the words just won’t come out. The anger I feel is too much to hold in. The vivid images of my dark dreams start to surface. Knowing now that it’s time to let go, to release myself from the life I once knew. I start beating on my flesh with my bare hands. Every slap across my face, and every scratch down my chest relinquishes a sensation—the feeling of power and release of all the pain.
“I’m constantly reminded of your sin, Lord. The one that can’t be undone, do you hear me? I’m talking to you! Where are you? I was doing your work, thinking you would guide me through. I don’t understand, are you not proud of me as a man? I committed the greatest sacrifice. That should’ve left you with no doubt. I was your faithful servant, always living without.
“The demons are calling me, Lord. They keep saying, ‘Let us bring you home.’ There’s no turning back. I’m ready for this fight. The devil’s pulling me by the strings into the darkness of night. I’ll no longer kneel before you because you’re no longer my Holy Savior. You are just a man.
“I will rise from these ashes that are now made of stone and go down a path I know to be my own. Let the pain and destruction now speak for themselves. No self-proclamations are needed, for my pain will be felt. I will not promise to make it through the Valley of Death, Lord, for you are now breathing on dry bones. The beauty is now in their ashes, and they will die alone.
“The demons are calling for me, Lord. I now have to go. Don’t try to find me, for I no longer have a soul. The dark man has come. He says I am free, and that all the power now belongs to me.”
Detective Logan St. Martin has a past that she keeps buried deep inside her soul. Little pieces are revealed but much remains untapped, patiently waiting for the right time to be shared. Detective Michael Grasso also has hidden secrets that are exposed throughout the novel. The detectives have worked together for a while. While they find each other interesting they have been able to keep their relationship professional, with light flirting sprinkled in here and there. Murders in their small town pair them together.
Detective Logan is given lead on the case. She is intelligent and has a second sense when it comes to solving cases. Then Logan becomes the target of the serial killer and the hunt is on. Detective Grasso does not let Logan out of his site, literally camping out on her couch. Together they work the crime but time, a small town who relishes privacy, and a sheriff who is more interested in his political agenda is working against them.
Ashes of a Sinner by S.L. Hebert is fast paced. Short chunky sentences make the reading extremely easy and quick. There are unexpected twists in the plot that keep the storyline interesting. The novel ends with a lot of unanswered questions leading the reader ready for the next installment.
I found myself getting a little frustrated at times because the author chose to start A Lot of sentences with “Detective Logan St. Martin” or “Detective Michael Grasso”. That part just got a little too formal and repetitive but didn’t bother me so much as to keep me from reading.
All in all, I really enjoyed the book and would definitely recommend it to friends.