Jacob Christianson, a med student, is sent to investigate a murder at Blister Creek, a polygamous enclave in Utah called “The Church of the Anointing,” headed by “The Prophet” – Brother Joseph. Jacob is a believer, but not above pushing the boundaries of that belief, not above breaking through limitations if it feels right to him.
He takes along his sister, Eliza, to help him. Her father is about to force her to marry, and Jacob wants her to have a choice or at least let her opinions be known.
Eliza’s half-sister, Amanda Kimball, was murdered, her throat slit and tongue ripped out. Amanda’s husband, Elder Taylor Kimball, is a stern and domineering man with many wives. Elder Kimball suspects his Mexican workers. Jacob doesn’t think so because of the ritualistic killing.
Their excommunicated brother, Enoch, has been seen around Blister Creek lately, but he denies it when his siblings visit him in Las Vegas. They find out he DOES know something about Amanda’s murder. As it turns out, it’s more than just a murder. It’s money laundering, tax evasion, welfare fraught, and illegal transfer of funds. It’s also more than that – it’s a battle between the traditional and the eugenicists, a schism over how to prevent inbreeding.
Author Wallace gives some pretty interesting explanations of the polygamist rationale and the different Mormon sects, and an insight into some of their rites.
However, the promised conflicts and complications are merely skimmed over and cast aside, tempering any tensions that were promised in the story’s development. And the conclusion of the story is somewhat disappointing, almost without direction.
Balsalom Publishing (Kindle ebook, $0.99)